SARLAHI, May 26: Locals have staged protests against the minimum compensation amount fixed by the government against land acquired for the East-West Electrified Railway Project.
Residents of Lalbandi, Hariwan and Bagmati municipalities formed a ‘joint struggle committee’ and held a press meet on Saturday, declaring protest against authorities.
Coordinator of the struggle committee, Dol Raj Pande, complained that the compensation declared was too little.
“How worthy is a national pride project that threatens to displace citizens?” Pande questioned, adding: “How can the exploitation of citizens fulfill the government promise of a prosperous Nepal and happy Nepalis?”
Pande stated that land worth Rs 2.5 million has been valued to receive compensation of just Rs 1 million. He added that those with houses built on the land have also been allotted the same amount.
“The compensation amount is in no way enough to buy a house elsewhere,” Pande said. On top of that, locals have to pay a 2.4 percent capital gains tax, he added.
Like Pande, other locals have also complained that they are under threat of being displaced as the amount declared as compensation is not enough to relocate them.
Pande stated that the protests will continue until they are granted a justifiable sum of money.
Provincial lawmaker Dilli Prasad Upreti, who was also part of the press meet, said that it was of utmost importance that the compensation amount be revaluated. Upreti said that he completely supported the protests.
Likewise, Hariwan Municipality’s Mayor Ganesh Prasai said that the compensation amount fixed by the government has posed a serious problem for the locals.
“There are always issues when it comes to compensation money. But here, locals aren’t even getting half the money they deserve,” Prasai said. “Land which is being easily bought for Rs 1 million has been valued for Rs 400,000 as compensation amount.”
The mayor also said that local representatives were not included while deciding the compensation amount. He stated that reevaluation must be done in the presence of local representatives of associated wards and municipalities.
The struggle committee members, along with landowners, protested with placards on Saturday. They have also issued a notice stating that they would carry out sit-in in front of the District Administration Office (DAO) Malangawa from coming Thursday. They have also threatened to stop construction of the railway if their demands weren’t met.