Jajpur: Work on 22 National Highways has been stuck at different stages due to delay in clearing compensation to the land losers. As land acquisition for the NHs in various districts gets delayed, expansion of these projects has been affected, a report said.
According to the report, the state government’s Competent Authority of Land Acquisition (CALA) is the agency which is supposed to facilitate land acquisition and ensure clearance of compensation to the land losers.
It was alleged that due to CALA’s apathy, land acquisition for the NH expansion has been delayed. Special secretary of the works department HK Padhi has taken note of the slow pace of land acquisition.
Expressing concern over the issue, Padhi November 29 directed Collectors of Jajpur, Balasore, Cuttack, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Koraput, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur, Sambalpur and Sundargarh to intervene in the matter of land acquisition.
He has asked the Collectors to direct officials concerned to remove bottlenecks in the land acquisition process, expedite the work and carry forward the compensation clearing process.
Padhi had also directed the Collectors to remove bottlenecks in the NH expansion. It was alleged that due to indifference of the CALA, District Collectors of the above districts have to face awkward situation.
This is evident from the repeated reminders from the works department. Since 2017, expansion of 22 NHs whose total length adds up to 1,162 km is moving in slow pace.
According to reports, 2,412 hectares of private land are being acquired in Jajpur, Angul, Balasore, Cuttack, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Koraput, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur, Sambalpur and Sundargarh districts.
The NHAI has deposited Rs 2,340 crore at the CALA to pay compensation to the land losers. Due to alleged negligence of the CALA, the land losers have not yet received their compensation to the tune of Rs 242.955 crore till September 20.
As compensation clearance gets delayed, people are creating problems. Besides, work of 22 more NH projects as decided in 2021-22 and 2022-23 has failed to make much headway.
NHAI chairperson Giridhar Armane had written to Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra in September to ensure smooth progress of the NH works in the state.