The Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), Jorhat district unit, has criticised the Assam Government for trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the people vis-à-vis the proposed Na-Ali railway overbridge without a Detailed Project Report (DPR) and acquisition of land for the purpose.
The foundation stone of the proposed three-lane railway overbridge at Na-Ali is scheduled to be laid by the Chief Minister (CM) Sarbananda Sonowal on Sunday (September 30) and he will be accompanied by the Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
The overbridge, 854.68 metres in length, was a long-standing demand of the people and organisations to decrease traffic congestion in Jorhat town and will cost Rs 67.76 crores in Central funding.
The president of AJYCP Jorhat district unit Ritul Pathak, while addressing media persons at the student’s body office in Jorhat on Friday, said that they would welcome the Government’s action of laying the foundation stone of the project, but there were concerns about whether work on the project would start immediately as the “land was yet to be acquired”.
He stated that the fund of Rs 23.81 crores required to be paid as compensation to owners for acquiring land was yet to be released by the State Government. Citing the example of the Jorhat-Lakhimpur bridge via Majuli, the foundation stone of which was laid at Moran on the eve of Assembly polls by the Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari in the presence of Sonowal (who was then the Union (MoS) Sports Minister) on February 28, 2016, work on which is yet to start till date, Pathak feared that this project too could turn out to be a non-starter.
Pathak said that till date the DPR of the Jorhat-Lakhimpur via Majuli project has not yet been prepared. He also remarked that the AJYCP believed that this was another “publicity stunt of the BJP with an eye on the 2019 elections”. AJYCP Jorhat district unit general secretary Babu Dutta remarked that the Government’s intention would become clear if it began the acquisition process on a priority basis so that the project does not hang fire.
Dutta claimed that for more than a decade now the AJYCP has been in the forefront in demanding construction of a railway overbridge in the area and the project was reportedly sanctioned by the earlier UPA Government but got “stuck” as the Tarun Gogoi Government did not release its share.
Jorhat Deputy Commissioner (DC) Narayan Konwar said that the process of acquiring the land is under way with the survey having been completed. Konwar said the process was expected to be completed within a short time with the district administration according top priority to it. He said recently the administration held meeting with the people who had assured cooperation and were willing to give up their land for the project.
Konwar further stated that the fund for providing compensation was expected to be released by the Government soon. The DC said that work on construction of alternative routes would be first started so that there was smooth flow of traffic immediately after the foundation stone laying ceremony as tender for the same has been issued.