Rerouting of National Highway for Dhubri-Phulbari Bridge to Displace 500 Families in Assam

Reported by

East Street Journal Asia

Legal Data by

Bhavesh Seth, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Moushumi Sharma

Updated by

Published on

November 25, 2021

November 25, 2021

Updated on

November 25, 2021

Location of Conflict

Kismat Hasdaha, Debottar Hasdaha

Kismat Hasdaha Pt-I, Kismat Hasdaha Pt-III, Debottar Hasdaha Pt-IV

Dhubri

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Roads

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

27

ha

Starting Year

2019

State

Assam

Sector

Infrastructure

People from Kismat Hasdaha and Debottar Hasdaha villages in Dhubri district are protesting against the sudden change in the route of National Highway-127B from Kismat Hasdaha Pt-III to Kismat Hasdaha Pt-I through Debottar Hasdaha Pt-IV. NH-127B connects Srirampur in Assam to Nongston in Meghalaya. 

Due to the rerouting, more than 500 families are likely to be displaced, resulting in the loss of homes and farmlands.

The change in the route of NH-127B is to facilitate the construction of the Dhubri-Phulbari four-lane bridge, touted to be the longest bridge in India at 19 kilometres. In March 2019, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the prime minister, approved the highway expansion project. On August 20, 2020, the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited sent an authorisation letter to the South Asia division of the Japan International Cooperation Agency for the construction and upgradation of the newly declared NH-127B. 

In February 2021, the prime minister laid the foundation stone for the bridge, which will connect Dhubri in Assam to Phulbari in Meghalaya over the Brahmaputra. Once completed, the bridge will be double the length of the country’s current longest bridge – the Dhola Sadiya Bridge, also known as the Bhupen Hazarika Setu.

On August 3, 2021, thousands of people from the villages gathered to protest against the government’s sudden change of plan. According to the people, a survey was carried out in 2012, based on which the government had proposed to widen the existing PWD road as part of the NH-127B. They claimed that the government did not inform them before rerouting the highway.

Alok Kumar Roy, a village resident, told the media that there already exists a “straight PWD road from Kismat Hasdaha Pt-III to Kismat Hasdaha Pt-I, but under the influence of powerful and corrupt officials, the route has now been diverted through Debottar Hasdaha Pt-IV. If the new road is built, farmlands and properties on more than 60 acres of land will be destroyed and people will suffer”.

Nitya Binod Warie from the Dhubri land acquisition branch informed LCW that he is unaware of any dispute or protests against the diversion of the national highway. He added that 90 per cent of the affected people have already been compensated.

LCW also reached out to the Japan International Cooperation Agency seeking its comment on the issue but did not get any response. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations

Refusal to give up land for the project

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

To stick to the original plan for highway construction

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

4997

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

National Highways Act, 1956
Section 3-A: [The Union government can acquire any land for building or managing a national highway or any part thereof]; Section 3(C): [Interested persons may object to such acquisition within 21 days of the notification issued under Section 3(A) and their objections must be heard]; Section 3(G): [Determination of amount payable as compensation to affected persons]
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 26: [Criteria to be considered by the District Collector while assessing market value includes the market value, average sale price for similar land in the vicinity and compensation paid in acquisition by private companies]; Section 27 read with Schedule I: [Determination of compensation amount to be paid]; Section 28: [Factors to be considered while determining compensation include market value, cost of relocation of business or residence and damage caused due to the land acquisition]; Section 31(1) read with Schedule II: [R&R award for affected families]; Section 25: [The Collector must make an award within 12 months of the declaration of land acquisition, else the acquisition proceedings will lapse]; Section 77: [Payment of compensation to interested persons or deposit in Authority]; Section 105(3) read with Schedule IV: [Compensation in land acquisition proceedings initiated under the NH Act, 1956, will be calculated as per the 2013 LARR Act]
Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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:

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Violation of free prior informed consent

Non-implementation/violation of LARR Act

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Assam Public Works Buildings & NH

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Nitya Binod Warie from the Dhubri land acquisition branch informed LCW that he is unaware of any dispute or protests against the diversion of the national highway. He added that 90 per cent of the affected people have already been compensated.

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

LCW reached out to the Japan International Cooperation Agency seeking its comment on the issue but did not get any response.

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

L&T Construction, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Enviro Infra Solutions Private Limited, CE Testing Company Private Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

LCW reached out to the Japan International Cooperation Agency seeking its comment on the issue but did not get any response.

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

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Reviewed By

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