Sunday, August 14, 2022

Ground reality of Dimapur Railway station

Recently, several queries / complains have been voiced out from different quarters, reflecting the problems of Dimapur Railway Station, through the local print media, most of which are without ascertaining the facts, which sensationalize the issue beyond proportion. The matter of grave importance such as this, needs to be addressed in its right perspective so as to arrive at a feasible and desirable conclusion.
It is mainly because of the failure of NFR to expedite the bone of contention and partly because of frequent transfer and retirement of Railway officials, the matter has been dragged till date, making scapegoat out of landowners, dubbing them as encroachers.
As a matter of fact, the anomaly has existed ever since Nagaland was curved out of Assam and became a full-fledged state under Indian Union. Immediately after attaining statehood, Nagaland came under the protection of Article 371(A) of Indian Constitution wherein, it is clearly mentioned that the land and its resources belong to the people (Nagas). In other words, the Indian Military, Para-Military, Railway, Postal Services etc. so also multi-national companies do not have the right to occupy the land permanently in Nagaland. They could do so for a specific period of time on lease basis which could be further extended at the pleasure of the State Govt. During the early stages of statehood, both the Railway and Landowners failed to foresee the impending problems that are being faced today.
During the course of litigation, the Railway Department failed to provide any requisitioned / acquisitioned order issued by either the British Govt., Central Govt. or the State Govt. The Railways claim over 5kms, extending from Rangapahar Crossing till Khatkati (Assam), covering an area of 134.503 acres of land which could neither be validated nor substantiated. The 1964 surveyed map submitted in support of the claim was found signed by Senior Divisional Engineer only with Sd/- Sub-Deputy Collector (Civil S.D.O) whereas during that period of time, Dimapur was a mere outpost with Circular Officer (CO) as its administrative head.
There are five Railway Divisions under Maligaon (Assam) namely:- 1) Tinsukia, 2) Rangiya, 3) Kharupetia, 4) Alipurduar and 5) Lumding. The two sides of the Railway tracks in all the first four divisions have been already occupied and only Lumding-Dimapur Division has been claiming 91 meters (300ft) each side of the Railway track. The Railway Departmet should apply same yardstick for all the Division.
Now, out of 5kms stretch of Railway track, some parts of the land are non-cadastral, which fall under the ownership of village authority and individual landowners. Whereas, the most important parts (Dimapur Railway Station area) fall under the cadastral land and as such presently under the occupation of a number of mandirs and individual owners, each having their respective land pattas issued by the competent authority (The State Govt.).
It goes without saying that the Indian Railway is an indispensable sector for our over-all growth. Nothing should come in the way of its further development. However, it will be unfair if such development is undertaken at the cost of the people (destruction of already developed land and properties). Therefore, in the best interest of both the Railways and Landowners, ways and means should be worked out at the earliest to re-allocate or compensate the genuine and rightful landowners who are bound to be affected in the process of expansion of Dimapur Railway Station wherein the State Govt. has a major role to play. Dimapur Railway Station has been the second most revenue earning station, next to Guwahati and shall continue to remain so.
Therefore, all the concerned parties should make an utmost effort to find an amicable and lasting solution.
Hetokhu Awomi
President
Landowners Union
Rangapahar Crossing (LURC)

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