Public Demands Cancellation of Residential Project at Jorhat Bus Terminus in Assam

Reported by

East Street Journal AsiaLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

April 23, 2021

Location of Conflict

Bohotia Gaon

Kotoki Pukhuri area, Sarusarai mouza

Jorhat

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Urban Development (Other than Smart Cities)

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

2

ha

Starting Year

2020

State

Assam

Sector

Infrastructure

The Jorhat Public Bus Terminus at Kotoki Pukhuri was inaugurated in 2004 by Late Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. More than five acres of land used for the terminus originally belonged to the Assam State Transport Corporation, which was later allotted to the Jorhat Development Authority (JDA). Initially, a tender was floated for the construction and development of commercial and residential projects at the terminus but was closed following public protests. On June 30, 2020, another tender was floated to construct** **a multistoried commercialcumresidential apartment building at the bus terminus. The tender was allotted to Jainco Mechanical Construction, a private company in Jorhat. An agreement to this end was signed between the JDA and Jainco on September 14. RTI activists and advocates have alleged anomalies in the awarding of contract to a private builder. They have claimed violations in the land allotment process, alleging that neither party to the contract took the prior approval of the director, Town and Country Planning, Assam. They fear that the commercial and residential project might lead to the shutdown of the bus terminus. Demanding retention of the terminus, All Assam Students Union (Jorhat unit) leader Jul Khound said the terminus was very necessary for reducing the growing traffic congestion in the town. RTI activist Rintu Goswami told the media that the plot of land allotted for the bus terminus cannot be used for purposes other than without the approval of the state government. Further, pointing at clauses of the agreement, Goswami said that of the residential flats, only 20 per cent would be owned by the JDA and the rest by Jainco. These residential flats are entitled to people eligible for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) scheme, a housing scheme for economically weaker sections of the society with no permanent homes. There is no mention of the PMAY flats in the agreement signed between JDA and Jainco, Goswami alleged.  In December, protesters from various local organisations All Assam Students' Union (Jorhat Unit), Raijor Dal, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Bir Lachit Sena, Chatra Mukti Sangram Samiti, Sadou Asom Kalita Chatra Sanstha, Anusuchita Jati Chatra Sanstha and Anusuchita Jati Mahila Sanmilani protested against the project, forming a human chain at the bus terminus. Saying that the project was not in public interest, the protesters shouted slogans and demanded a probe. They also sent a memorandum to the chief minister seeking cancellation of the project. Following the protests, Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Roshni A. Korati set up a fourmember committee to investigate the alleged anomalies by the JDA.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations, Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

1) Seeking intervention of the prime minister, chief minister and the speaker of the State Assembly to stop the project 2) Removal of Jorhat Development Authority Chairperson Prasanta Jyoti Goswami

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Other

Legislations/Policies Involved

  1. Assam Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, 2010

    Section 3: [Land grabbing is unlawful]

  2. Assam Town and Country Planning Act, 1959

    Section 9 [Preparation of Master Plan by director in consultation with local authorities]; Section 13 [After the Plan has been published, construction of new building is not permitted, except with written permission of the Authority]; Section 61 [Any officer or member of the Authority who abuses his powers under the Act is said to have committed an offence under the Act]

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Gauhati High Court

Case Number

Case No. AB/3698/2020; Linked Case: AB/3706/2020

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Advocacy (for inclusion in courts), Campaigns (Grassroots organisations/press releases/media), Protests/marches, Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Jorhat Development Authority (JDA), Directorate of Town and Country Planning, Assam

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Yes

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

LCW tried to reach out to Hitesh Dev Sharma, secretary to the Government of Assam (Urban Development Department), but could not speak to him as the telephone number mentioned on the official website was invalid and no email address was mentioned.

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Jainco Mechanical Construction Private Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Yes

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

LCW tried to reach out to Nitesh Jain, one of the directors of Jainco Mechanical Construction Private Limited, and other officials, but no valid contact details were found.

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Hitendra Nath Goswami (Jorhat MLA and Speaker of the State Assembly); Prasanta Jyoti Goswami, Bharatiya Janata Party member and JDA chairperson

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

East Street Journal Asia

Reviewed By

East Street Journal Asia

Updated By

East Street Journal Asia

Edited By

East Street Journal AsiaLand Conflict Watch
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