Handwara residents protest delay in land compensation

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Residents of Handwara and adjacent villages here on Monday accused authorities of failing to compensate them against the land acquired for construction of the road to Bangus Valley.

Residents said although the land was acquired by the government several years ago for construction of the road, only 20 percent of the compensation has been cleared till now. “We were promised that within 18 months full the authorities will clear the entire payment to the farmers, but we have been left high and dry and despite passing of several years our payments have not been cleared yet “, said Javeed Ahmad, a land owner.

Several farmers from Chotipora village of this town demanded compensation according to norms set for the municipal areas. “If our land is located in the municipal range of Handwara then why we were given only Rs 12 lakh per kanal, and Handwara farmers were approved Rs 20 lakh per kanal,” asked Ghulam Nabi Sheikh.

Residents threatened they would take back the possession of the land used for construction of the road if they were not given full compensation at earliest. “We approached authorities time and again but to no avail. Our apple orchards were cut down during construction of the road resulting in huge loss to our earnings,” said Sajad Ahmad Sheikh.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kupwara, Anshul Garg said before acquiring the land for construction of the road a Negotiation Committee was framed between land owners and authorities which amicably decided the land rates. “Although farmers have suffered the administration is seized with the issue. The farmers shall be given the compensation soon,” said the DC.