Railways firm on evicting land encroachers

Noel Manuel
Dimapur | January 30

As part of its multi dimensional plan to upgrade Dimapur railway station befitting of its status as the second highest revenue earner of the NFR, the North Frontier Railway administration is gearing up to carry out its eviction drive, with support from the district administration, following a judicial judgment and order dated December 14, 2006 passed against appellants Madan Singh, Mithun Chakraborty, Md. Sushil Ahmed Lashkar, Shiv Santoshi Mata Mandir and Raja Dev. 

The Additional Deputy Commissioner (Judicial) had in his judgment, a copy of which was made available to the media, pointed out “there is apparent encroachment on the railway land by the appellants’ thereby causing daily public inconvenience and regrettably the railway authorities have allowed this railway encroachment till date.”

ADC Judicial Mayang Lima further in his judgment went on to add, “I do not find any merit on the adverse possession plea of the appellants and accordingly the appeal petitions are dismissed and all interim orders stand vacated.” However, taking into account the interest of the worshippers of Santoshi Mata Mandir (appellant No. 5), the judgment has directed railway authorities not to evict the Mandir until such time a suitable plot of land from within the railway land is located for shifting of the place of worship. The ADC (J), nevertheless upheld the eviction of the temporary residential quarters attached to the said Mandir. “The extended temporary residential quarters attached to the said Mandir which is blocking the construction of approach road to the new booking counter shall be evicted along with the rest of the appellants,” the ADC (J) in his judgment / order stated.

Additional Divisional Engineer (ADEN) Dimapur Ramesh Chandra Sarmah has in an exclusive interview to The Morung Express, today highlighted the stiff resistance and opposition he was facing from certain elements, who are against the interest of developing the Dimapur Railway Station and its adjoining areas, despite the judgment and order being passed by the ADC (J) in favour of the railway authorities. 

The new Passenger Reservation System (PRS), completed in July last year is yet to become operational and the inconveniences that passengers are presently made to go through at the existing PRS within the station premises is for all to see.

Encroachment of railway land is putting thousands of train passengers through hardships each day and why at all should our people be made to suffer for the vested interest of a few ‘communal’ minded individuals, the ADEN questioned and fervently appealed to all NGO’s to come forward and support the railways in its developmental endeavour.  

There are big plans to make Dimapur into a model station and for which three tenders were floated by the NFR on January 5, 2007. Improvement in the façade of station building amounting to Rs 24 lakhs, development of circulating area in front of new PRS amounting to Rs 27 lakhs and development of station circulating area for proper entry and exit amounting to Rs 28 lakhs, the ADEN disclosed and expressed dismay at the manner in which, some vested elements were communalizing the land encroachment issue to prevent the railways from carrying out developmental activities in the interest of the common man.

There are as many as four temples that come under the purview of railway ‘encroached’ land and obstructing developmental activities, the ADEN said and added that the railways have expressed concern, support and an open mind to relocate these places of worship in the interest and respect of every religion. We are in the process of demolishing 25 railway quarters to make way for development and there will be many more that would meet the same fate as part of the master development plan for Dimapur railway station, he confirmed.  

The railway land encroachment imbroglio dates back to the relentless efforts of the then ADEN Lienkothang Tonsing, who was branded as ‘communal’ by some vested elements, when he attempted to carry out developmental activities upon encroached land. 

SDO (Civil) when contacted today and asked as to how early the eviction drive would get underway, said that he was ‘awaiting official orders from the DC.’

The railway land encroachment imbroglio has seen many twists and turns in this battle that got started almost four years ago. With the ADC (J) washing his hands off the issue by passing the judgment in favour of the common man, all eyes are now on the DC to see just how early he gives the ‘go ahead’ to the much awaited development that the common man has been yearning for so long.