Border fencing displaces over 600 families

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Aizawl, Apr 9 (UNI) Almost 600 families will be rendered homeless and lose their cultivable land due to the ongoing Indo-Bangladesh border fencing in Mizoram, state chief secretary Haukhum Hauzel said here today.

Mr Hauzel was briefing the press at the state guest house after a meeting with the Union Home Ministry's border management secretary Shantanu Consul and his colleagues who had visited the border fencing area yesterday.

''Compensation for these displaced families was not in the original scheme of the border fencing. However, the Central Home Secretary, after visiting the affected area, assured every possible help towards compensating the displaced families,'' the state chief secretary said.

According to the original scheme, compensation was available only for an area of 15 metres radius from the fence. However, the affected area turned out to be much more than what had been originally estimated.

The border fencing work in Mizoram has been given to four agencies - the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) (107 kms), National Project Construction Corporation (NPCC) (93.35 kms), Engineering Projects India Limited (EPIL) (120 kms) and Border Roads Organisation (10 kms), a total of approximately 330 kms, 12 kms longer than the actual boundary.

The state officials alleged that the implementing agencies did not consult the Mizoram government when they started the fencing, thereby grossly violating the original alignment, which further expanded the affected land.

Whereas the fencing was to be constructed not further than 150 metres from the zero point, it goes as far as more than 200 metres in some sectors.

''Consequently, Mizoram has to sacrifice a huge portion of the land unnecessarily, leaving many families homeless,'' Mr Hauzel said.

The chief secretary expressed concern over the situation and urged the Centre to look into the matter. He said the Centre had responded positively by sending its team of officials.

''While some villages are out-fenced, others are bifurcated by the fencing,'' he said.

For security reasons, the Border Security Force asked the out-fenced villagers to move into the Mizoram side which the latter could not fulfil due to non-availability of compensation, Mr Hauzel said.

Besides damaging houses, the border fencing affected large area of cultivable land.

The EPIL has to disburse Rs 9.66 crore as compensation of which it has deposited Rs 5.39 crore. Of the Rs 2.47 crore, the NBCC has deposited the full amount while the NPCC has deposited Rs 2.44 crore of the total Rs 6.40 crore, officials said.

UNI ZS DPM SK AS1639

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