HC notice to ADB on Manipur road project

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    Imphal: Acting on a petition demanding government assessment of the Thoubal-Kasom Khullen road and its impact in Manipur, the Gauhati high court has issued a notice to project sponsor Asian Development Bank (ADB).

    The 47-km road, which passes through Thoubal, Senapati and Ukhrul districts, is part of the Union DoNER ministry’s North Eastern State Roads Investment Programme (NESRIP). Manipur PWD and other units, which are implementing the project, have begun constructing the road. Six tribal village chiefs from Senapati and Thoubal, whose land and property will be affected by the road, are the petitioners in the case.

    The petitioners said the authorities have given no information regarding payment of compensation to those affected by the road or those who will be affected by it.

    Advocate B R Sharma, appearing on behalf of the petitioners, said the implementing agencies have taken up the project without following the DoNER ministry’s guidelines. The project guidelines require resettlement and rehabilitation of those affected before construction begins, the lawyer said.

    The petitioners requested the court to direct the respondents (implementing agencies) to assess the value, size and quantities of land/property already affected and to be affected by the road.

    They said the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, and National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy ( Ministry of Rural Development), 2007, should be adhered to for payment of compensation. In an interim prayer, they asked the court to stop construction of the road till the assessment is complete and the petition is disposed of.

    Having heard the petition, the court, headed by justice N Kotiswar Singh, had issued a notice to ADB on August 11, seeking its reply within four weeks. In the petition, the organization is represented by its country director, New Delhi.

    The high court said it would decide on the interim prayer in its next sitting.

    Besides ADB, the other respondents in the case include the Centre, represented by the DoNER ministry, state chief secretary, commissioner/secretary, chief engineer of Manipur PWD and deputy commissioners of Ukhrul and Senapati.

    Source: The Times of India