The Telegraph
Saturday , July 12 , 2014
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Project-affected want rehabilitation

- Anti-erosion scheme hits 1373 people

Borjhar, July 11: Residents affected by the flood and erosion management projects in Palasbari in Kamrup district have demanded an alternative site for their rehabilitation and adequate compensation from the district administration.

The Palasbari sub-project B of the Assam Integrated Flood and Riverbank Erosion Management Project was initiated on June 22, 2012. The project, funded by the Asian Development Bank, entails the strengthening of the existing embankment in Palasbari and construction of a new embankment wherever necessary with the latest technology.

According to sources in the water resources department, 38 per cent under water construction of the project has been completed and that work would resume by September.

However, a survey has indicated that as many as 1,373 people belonging to 446 households from nine villages, Kochpara, Hudumpur, Hudumpur town, Sadilapur, wards 6, 5, 2, 1 of Palasbari Municipality Town, Sadilapur in Kamrup and Majirgaon will be affected by the project.

A section of the affected people has demanded land in Boratoli, about 1km away from the project site, and the district administration and the Flood and Riverbank Erosion Management Agency (FREMA) must adhere to a resettlement plan for the Palasbari sub-project in letter and spirit.

They alleged that the district administration and the agency have not paid any heed to their demand for resettlement. “We will have to lead a nomadic existence if we are not compensated with land. With monetary compensation alone we can never purchase even a katha of land,” Biren Chandra Das of Palashbari ward 1, apprehended.

A section of the affected residents in June submitted a memorandum to the Kamrup deputy commissioner through the circle officer of Palasbari revenue circle demanding land for the affected people.

“If we are rehabilitated close by, our sources of livelihood will remain intact,” Pranab Kalita, a resident of Hudumpur town, said.

Kamrup deputy commissioner J. Balaji said, “After completion of the identification process we will take steps to allot land to the genuine landless project-affected people.”

According to a joint census survey conducted by the Human Resource Development Foundation of South Kamrup and Palasbari revenue circle, 263 households will lose residential assets and 79 households will lose agricultural land.

The survey found that with the loss of more than 10 per cent agricultural land by 63 affected households, the project impact on their livelihood would be significant.

Sources alleged that authorities concerned have failed to complete the process of resettlement, rehabilitation and providing compensation to the affected people despite an extension from July 31 in 2013 to March 6 in 2014.

On the delay in rehabilitation, Muzahid Ali, executive officer, FREMA, said, “We will have to run the process smoothly to ensure that the affected people get cent per cent justice.”

Public property, including three schools, a cremation ground for 11 villages and temples will be affected by the project. Land measuring 62.76 acres will be acquired for the purpose.

In Dhubri district, erosion has displaced nearly 50 families and cultivable land measuring around 400 bighas along with homestead properties of the families of Ravatari and Bouskata villages under Fakirganj police station have been eroded by the Brahmaputra in the last couple of days.