TODAY -

Who is at fault for shrinking roads in urban areas?
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: September 16, 2022 -



STEADY shrinkage of lanes and arterial roads in the densely populated urban localities is indeed both a huge problem for the government as opined by chief minister N Biren in a government programme and an eyesore for the public, which authorities concerned should no longer ignore.

While the chief minister is worried that space crunch might lead to devastating consequences in case of major fire incidents, for residents in urban localities gradual decrease in road space and size of drain is a testimony of nexus between the encroachers and unscrupulous elements in the department handling land records and settlement.

Compared to periodical drives being conducted to evict encroachers from government lands and forest areas reaping fruit to a great extent as the eviction teams possess land records and security protection, any attempt of executing similar drives in the urban and suburban areas would be a tough task for it is obvious that the affected parties would threaten to approach the law court and stall the proceedings in case the government cannot guarantee payment of compensation amount as per the existing market price.

With rate of homestead land in and around the twin capital districts rapidly soaring, no individual would risk expansion of their ancestral or newly acquired land plots without possessing land documents, no matter if such possession is in compliance with standard procedures or through greasing the palm of corruptible officials in the department concerned.

While a handful of officials and staffers have been pulled up or suspended for tampering with thr government land records, so far, such a punitive action is limited to preserving the reserved forest areas and isolated cases of eviction drives carried out along the river banks.

Nevertheless, proper maintenance of public space, especially in residential pockets, with roads and drains as the point of demarcation should be initiated by the government authorities before the land sharks take undue advantage of government inaction, stealthily encroach on public property and create perennial problems.

However, considering the fact that there are many locality-based organisations such as clubs and meira paibi groups whose decisions on social issues are often binding on the residents, the government may take the help of such local bodies and initiate appropriate measures to ensure at-least standard width of the by-lanes.

Without the government authorities leading from the front in evicting the encroachers in urban areas, it would be impracticable for the local bodies to undertake eviction drives due to imminent confrontations with the hostile encroachers and possibility of being regularly dragged to the court in case the affected individuals decide to take legal assistance.

The Chingmeirong incident on Wednesday when five people, including a policeman suffered injuries after locals opposed attempt to conduct land demarcation and subsequent eviction drive, is a classic example of how things could turn ugly in cases related to land disputes.

Regardless of a court of law ruling in favour of an individual after over 50 years of legal proceedings, the main factor for the fierce resistance put up by Chingmeirong locals was that the individual's so-called land plot included a government school compound.

As such, it is imperative that before any eviction or demarcation drive is conducted the government authorities properly scrutinise land records and pull up personnel concerned in case any sort of ambiguity is detected.



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