MANGALURU: The Bhoomalikara Horata Samiti NH 169 on Tuesday protested at the office of the project director of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) against the delay in acquiring land, disbursing compensation and expediting the project.
Samiti president Mariamma Thomas warned that if the NHAI Regional Officer does not meet them by March 20, the protests will intensify, which will include highway blockades. The 45km Bikarnakatte – Sanoor NH project has been languishing since the past five years due to compensation issues, which has now escalated to land losers alleging pressure in changing alignments to suit some vested interests.
As of now, only 10%-12% of the work is in progress in patches, endangering the lives of motorists due to inadequate safety measures. Mariamma said though a notification was issued in 2017, it was rejected twice due to errors from officials.
She said though the relief granted by the first land acquisition officer was upheld in the high court, the NHAI was still dilly dallying to implement the order. She warned people’s representatives to stay away from them this election season, since barring assurances they had done nothing to give relief to hundreds of land losers.
The protesters initially protested outside the NHAI office and later entered the premises demanding an answer from HS Lingegowda, project director, NHAI.
Though Lingegowda tried to pacify the protestors saying he needed 45 days to sort out the issue, the latter refused saying they had given enough time for the issue to be resolved. Later the NHAI officer said the regional officer had agreed to come to Mangaluru by March 20 after PM Narendra Modi’s programme in Bengaluru.
Mariamma agreed to this offer saying if the official did not come as assured, they would intensify protests that included roadblocks along the highways, where the project is being undertaken.
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