The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 30 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Land hurdle in three projects
- Neighbours grapple with plot acquisition and militancy

Kohima, March 29: The Nagaland government and the railway ministry will realign the proposed railway line from Dimapur to Zubza near Kohima, chief minister Neiphiu Rio has said.

The decision was taken after dumping a proposal for the expansion of the Dimapur airport and reports of realignment of a four-lane highway from Dimapur to Kohima because of land acquisition problems.

Rio today told the Assembly that land acquisition had been a major hurdle for development.

The proposed 88km railway line from Dimapur to Zubza would be from Dhansiriphar near the Assam border via Shoxuvi village because landowners are asking exorbitant rates, he said.

Rio said the railway officials had recently met the state government officials and discussed the realignment of railway as the rate was too exorbitant and conditions put forward by the landowners were difficult to be fulfilled by the railways.

Rio said villagers in Thahekhu had demanded employment in the railways and other facilities in the village which the authorities were not in a position to implement.

The landowners are demanding Rs 600 to Rs 800 per square feet to part with their lands for three major projects — the expansion of the airport, a four-lane highway and the railway line — but the rate of the state government is Rs 40 per square feet. Rio said the state government was ready to pay up to Rs 400 a square feet for land acquisition for the Dimapur airport expansion.

The chief minister said there was also a problem with the Dimapur Zoological Park through which tracks would have to be laid.

So far the railway ministry has sanctioned Rs 22 crore for land acquisition, but Rio said if the state government had to go by the demands of the landowners, the government would have to dole out a few hundred crores from its coffer.

Unable to meet the demands of the landowners, the state government and the Airports Authority of India are looking for a new site where the airport could be developed to international standard.

Rio and the parliamentary secretary for transport, Dako Phom, told the Assembly that they had to discard the airport extension proposal because of exorbitant rates. They said the government was looking for a suitable site.

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