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Oppn parties stage protest against hand over of railways’ land to bizmen

The protestors also submitted a memorandum to Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw through Northeast Frontier general manager, Anshul Gupta, for taking back the two plots.

GUWAHATI:

About 200 activists of Congress, Communist Party of India–Marxist (CPI-M) and Raijor Dal staged a protest in front of Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) headquarters in Maligaon, Guwahati, against the government’s decision to lease 58 bighas of railway land to three businessmen in the city, on February 23.

The two plots of land — one measuring 40 bighas at the junction of GNB Road and Ananda Ram Baruah Road in Panbazar, and another, measuring 18 bighas near the Ambari roundabout diagonally opposite to TC School – have been leased out for 99 years to three businessman – Rishi Gupta, Uttam Bedia and Arun Bajaj.

Chanting slogans against the NF Railway authorities, Assam government and the central government, the protestors demanded that the land be handed over to the railways.

The protestors also submitted a memorandum to Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw through Northeast Frontier general manager, Anshul Gupta, for taking back the two plots.

“If the land is not utilised by the railways, it should be handed over to the Assam government. There are many landless people in the state, and the government should distribute the land to them,” said Suprakash Talukdar, state secretary, CPI(M) addressing the protestors.

Opposition parties stage protest outside Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) office in Maligaon on Wednesday

Talukdar further added, “It is an anti-people act. The government, which could not provide land for the cremation of music maestro Bhupen Hazarika, has no moral right to hand over these two plots of land to private parties.”

On the other hand, CPI (M) leader Satanjeev Das alleged that the central government is trying to sell land worth Rs 6 lakh crore to private parties under its National Monetisation Policy (NMP). Das said that his party will continue to protest against anti-people policies of the Central government.

Terming the lease agreement as illegal, All India Congress Committee (APCC) spokesperson, Manjit Mahanta said that under the provision of Land Acquisition Act 1894 and Registration (Assam Amendment) Act 2009, no land can be leased out to any individual without a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from deputy commissioner or revenue department.

Mahanta also questioned the state government if it has issued the NOC before leasing out the land to the three individuals.

“Three businessmen are close to the leaders of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). This is the reason why they have got the land,” Mahanta alleged.

Meanwhile, justifying the move, a senior official of NF Railway, on the condition of anonymity, said that the railways and they have the right to lease out the land. “As per the Railway Policy, the Rail Land Development Authority can lease out any unused land to private parties. It is given on lease and the ownership will be with the railways,” said the official. He further added that if the land is leased out through open tender, the railway reserves the rights to vacate the plot if it feels necessary.

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