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Residents of Dima Hasao oppose the two-way Asom mala road project in Assam

Reported by

East Street Journal Asia

Legal Review by

Anmol Gupta, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Radhika Chatterjee

Updated by

Published on

February 23, 2023

May 10, 2023

Edited on

February 23, 2023

State

Assam

Sector

Infrastructure

People Affected by Conflict

692

Households Affected by Conflict

178

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

219

ha

Starting Year

2022

Location of Conflict

Haflong

Gunjung, Guliabra, Delaisa, Diyungmukh

Dima Hasao

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Roads

Land Conflict Summary

In October 2022, residents from multiple villages in Haflong, Dima Hasao district in Assam submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister of India through the Deputy Commissioner's office of Dima Hasao. They demanded compensation for their land acquired for the two-way Asom (or Axom) Mala road project connecting Haflong Tiniali to lower Haflong via Diyungmukh.

Opposition to the project by community members began after the foundation of this 90.92 Km two-way road was laid by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Funded by the Asian development bank (ADB), this project is part of the Assam's state government's plans to improve various state highways and major district roads. The state government had initiated the acquisition lands for the project through the Public Works Department by way of direct purchase of land in January 2021.

In September and November 2021, several families moved the Gauhati High Court to demand proper land acquisition procedures be followed.
** **
People are complaining that they have not yet received their rightful compensation. Affected families have also alleged that the state is discriminating while distributing compensation, with some people who have fewer lands receiving disproportionately high compensation. While others who own higher amounts of land have received low compensation.

Residents have alleged that authorities have included their land in the list of land required for the construction of the project without making a proper assessment of the land required, nor initiating formal land acquisition proceedings.

Fact Sheet

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for compensation

Refusal to give up land for the project

Demand for more compensation than promised

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

What was the action taken by the police?

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Details of sources (names of accused, names and numbers of any lawyers, names of any police officers contacted)

Status of Project

Project underway despite protests

Original Project Deadline

Whether the Project has been Delayed

Significance of Land to Land Owners/Users

Non-agri rural enterprise, Agricultural land, Residential area

Whether the project was stalled due to land conflict

No

Source/Reference

Total investment involved (in Crores):

662.4058338

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

2022

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Legal Data

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 4(1) [Whenever the Government seeks to acquire land for any public purpose, it shall consult the panchayat in the affected area and conduct a Social Impact Assessment] Section 5 [A public hearing shall be conducted at the affected area to ascertain the views of the affected families, which shall be recorded in the SIA Report] Section 23 [Collector to pass an award for compensation of land in accordance with certain parameters] Section 26 [Collector to determine market value of land by assessing consented amount of compensation agreed upon] Section 28 [Parameters used by Collector in determination of award to include market value as under Section 26]
  1. 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.

    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.

  2. 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.

    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.

  3. 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.

    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.

  4. 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.

    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.

  5. 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.

    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.

  6. 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.

    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.

  7. 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.

    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:

Incorrect estimation of compensation

Non-payment of compensation/promised compensation

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Non-consultation with stakeholders

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Disposed

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

GAUHATI HIGH COURT

Case Number

WP(C) 5784/2022, WP(C) 6404/2022, WP(C) 6765/2022

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

On November 1, 2022, the Gauhati High Court disposed of several petitions filed by landowners against the project. The court directed Chief Engineer, Public Works Road Department (EAP) and Executive Engineer, Public Works Road Department, Haflong, to verify from their records within a period of one month to verify as to whether the lands of the petitioners would be included in the construction of the proposed road under the Asom Mala Road Project. Post verification, if it was found that the land of the petitioners would be included, and the formal steps for taking over and acquiring the land is not undertaken within the aforementioned period, there will be a restrain order on the respondents in the PWRD not to construct the road over the lands of the petitioners. The court also directed the petitioners to cooperate with the Executive Engineer, PWRD, Haflong, in order to enable the process.

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Additional Information

Nature of Protest

Advocacy (for inclusion in courts)

Protests/marches

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Assam Public works Department (PWD) (Roads), Project management Unit (PMU)

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

We contacted Project Officer, South Asia Department, ADB, Tanaka Yasushi. We requested for a status update and an enquiry for the due compensation to be received by the affected people of the villages and whose land falls under the road project area.

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

We contacted Project Officer, South Asia Department, ADB, Tanaka Yasushi. We requested for a status update and an enquiry for the due compensation to be received by the affected people of the villages and whose land falls under the road project area.

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Yes

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Information on the use of criminal law

What was the action taken by the police?

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Resources

Resources Related to Conflict

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

Images

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

Video

In October 2022, residents from multiple villages in Haflong, Dima Hasao district in Assam submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister of India through the Deputy Commissioner's office of Dima Hasao. They demanded compensation for their land acquired for the two-way Asom (or Axom) Mala road project connecting Haflong Tiniali to lower Haflong via Diyungmukh.

Opposition to the project by community members began after the foundation of this 90.92 Km two-way road was laid by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Funded by the Asian development bank (ADB), this project is part of the Assam's state government's plans to improve various state highways and major district roads. The state government had initiated the acquisition lands for the project through the Public Works Department by way of direct purchase of land in January 2021.

In September and November 2021, several families moved the Gauhati High Court to demand proper land acquisition procedures be followed.
** **
People are complaining that they have not yet received their rightful compensation. Affected families have also alleged that the state is discriminating while distributing compensation, with some people who have fewer lands receiving disproportionately high compensation. While others who own higher amounts of land have received low compensation.

Residents have alleged that authorities have included their land in the list of land required for the construction of the project without making a proper assessment of the land required, nor initiating formal land acquisition proceedings.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for compensation

Refusal to give up land for the project

Demand for more compensation than promised

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

662.4058338

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

2022

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

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 4(1) [Whenever the Government seeks to acquire land for any public purpose, it shall consult the panchayat in the affected area and conduct a Social Impact Assessment] Section 5 [A public hearing shall be conducted at the affected area to ascertain the views of the affected families, which shall be recorded in the SIA Report] Section 23 [Collector to pass an award for compensation of land in accordance with certain parameters] Section 26 [Collector to determine market value of land by assessing consented amount of compensation agreed upon] Section 28 [Parameters used by Collector in determination of award to include market value as under Section 26]
  1. 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.

    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.

  2. 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.

    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.

  3. 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.

    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.

  4. 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.

    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.

  5. 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.

    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.

  6. 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.

    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.

  7. 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.

    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:

Incorrect estimation of compensation

Non-payment of compensation/promised compensation

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Non-consultation with stakeholders

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Disposed

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

GAUHATI HIGH COURT

Case Number

WP(C) 5784/2022, WP(C) 6404/2022, WP(C) 6765/2022

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

On November 1, 2022, the Gauhati High Court disposed of several petitions filed by landowners against the project. The court directed Chief Engineer, Public Works Road Department (EAP) and Executive Engineer, Public Works Road Department, Haflong, to verify from their records within a period of one month to verify as to whether the lands of the petitioners would be included in the construction of the proposed road under the Asom Mala Road Project. Post verification, if it was found that the land of the petitioners would be included, and the formal steps for taking over and acquiring the land is not undertaken within the aforementioned period, there will be a restrain order on the respondents in the PWRD not to construct the road over the lands of the petitioners. The court also directed the petitioners to cooperate with the Executive Engineer, PWRD, Haflong, in order to enable the process.

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Advocacy (for inclusion in courts)

Protests/marches

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Assam Public works Department (PWD) (Roads), Project management Unit (PMU)

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

We spoke to the Additional Secretary, PW (Roads) Department with additional charge of Project Director, Assam Road Network Improvement Project (ARNIP) and Project Director, Assam Secondary Road Improvement Project (ASRIP) Mr. Ambamuthan M.P. In his statement he said the compensation amount has already been released and now it is with the Dima Hasao Autonomous Council to be awarded to the people whose land/ crops/ shops/ any property comes under the road project

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

We contacted Project Officer, South Asia Department, ADB, Tanaka Yasushi. We requested for a status update and an enquiry for the due compensation to be received by the affected people of the villages and whose land falls under the road project area.

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

We contacted Project Officer, South Asia Department, ADB, Tanaka Yasushi. We requested for a status update and an enquiry for the due compensation to be received by the affected people of the villages and whose land falls under the road project area.

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:  

Image Credit:  

Documented By

Text Link

Reviewed By

Text Link

Updated By

Text Link

Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch

Other Land Conflicts in Assam

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