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Land owners stage indefinite blockade

Aizawl, 21 Feb 2018: Land owners who are affected by the ongoing construction of the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport (KMMTT) road, which will link south Mizoram's Lawngtlai district with Myanmar, have launched an indefinite blockade of the road from Tuesday demanding immediate release of compensation for their damaged lands.

During a meeting of Lawngtlai District Land Owners Association (LDLOA) on Monday, the affected owners said they were not given compensation for their damaged lands for the past nine years.

The meeting said the state public works department (PWD), which is monitoring the construction of the cross-border road, is planning to complete the project within this year.

"We have been waiting for the government to release the compensation for the last nine years. However, our demands have not been fulfilled till today for which we are launching an indefinite blockade along the border road to put pressure on the government," an LDLOA leader said.

He also said it will be difficult for them to get the compensation for their damaged lands once the construction is completed.

The leader also said they had earlier appealed to the state government to ask the Centre to release their due compensation at the earliest.

"Despite repeated appeals, nothing was done to compensate our loss#," he added.

Apart from blocking the road, the land owners' association also appealed to RDS Private Ltd and Atlanta ARSS - the two companies executing the road construction - to put a halt on their work till the compensation is paid to the affected land owners.

Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project was launched in April, 2008, by the UPA government as part of its "look east" (now act east) policy after the ministry of external affairs entered into a framework agreement with the government of Myanmar.

Originally, the project was scheduled to be completed by 2014, but it is likely to be completed and fully operational by 2019.

The project, when completed, will first link the Calcutta port to the port of Sittwe in Myanmar across the Bay of Bengal, a distance of 539km.

From Sittwe, the route will continue over the river Kaladan to the western Myanmar town of Paletwa, from where it will be connected to the India-Myanmar border by a 110km-long road.

The international border will then be connected by road to the town of Lawngtlai in Mizoram where National Highway 54 passes by.

On the other hand, officials said the project is making a good headway as 68.55 per cent of the road is complete.

Sources said the blacktopping of 39.87km of the road is completed and the construc-tion is scheduled to be completed by December next year.

The cross-border road, once completed, will ease connectivity between India and Myanmar and boost border trade in the region.
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