Mayor of Harion Municipality of Sarlahi staging a sit-in in front of the District Administration Office (DAO) along with locals.
SARLAHI, May 31: Expressing disappointment over the 'minimum' compensation paid by the government while acquiring land for the construction of the East-West Electrical Railway, local representatives On Thursday staged a sit-in at the District Administration Office (DAO), Sarlahi.
They demanded a reevaluation of the compensation amount. Ganesh Prasain, mayor of Harion Municipality, along with ward chiefs Prahlad Budhathoki, Shekh Mehaboob Reja among others, joined the protest. The sit-in was staged for about an hour. "We were compelled to stage the sit-in after the government provided extremely low compensation for the land," said Dolraj Pandey, coordinator of the Bagmati Struggle Committee. "What is the use of a project which comes into operation by displacing the people?" he questioned.
According to Coordinator Pandey, the government has provided only Rs 1 million in compensation for a piece of land which is worth Rs 2.5 million per kattha. Pandey says the locals will be displaced if they accept such low compensation. "They won't be able to purchase land elsewhere with the compensation amount as the actual price of land is very high," said Pandey.
The struggle committee will be staging a two-hour sit-in in front of the DAO on Friday as well. In fact, the representatives and activists have warned of continuing their protest until the compensation amount is reviewed. The protesters chose the DAO for their sit-in as the Compensation Determination Committee is coordinated by the Chief District Officer (CDO)."The government has not paid even half the actual price of the land," said Mayor Prasain who is also a leader of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP). He also expressed his dissatisfaction over the committee for not consulting with the local representatives while fixing the compensation amount.
They even warned of posing obstructions in the ongoing protest if their demands are neglected. On May 25, the struggle committee had organized a press conference, gathering of beneficiaries and a protest with placards. Six months ago, the committee had fixed the compensation for the land between Lalbandi and Bagmati. The committee had fixed a compensation of Rs 200,000 to Rs 3 million per kattha of land in Lalbandi, Rs 300,000 to Rs 1,000,000 in Harion, and Rs 250,000 to Rs 1,200,000 in Bagmati Municipality.
Meanwhile, CDO Dron Pokharel stated that the locals are complaining a lot about the compensation fixed for their land. "While some have accepted the amount, many have demanded a re-evaluation," said CDO Pokharel, adding, "We can re-evaluate the compensation only after receiving an order for the higher authorities. If not, we will have to continue with the same amount."