Proposed Bharatmala Bypass Angers Farmers In Duttapulia

Villagers in a protest rally in Duttapulia.Villagers in a protest rally in Duttapulia.
The area map. Red colored stretch is the proposed bypass and blue stretch is existing PWD road

The area map. Red coloured stretch is the proposed bypass and blue coloured stretch is existing PWD road

NfN NETWORK

Duttapulia, July 26: A stretch of about 10km road proposed to be constructed under centre’s ambitious Bharatmala project from Nadia’s Duttapulia to North 24-pargans’s Sindrani, has angered farmers living in about six villages along the stretch to spearhead an agitation as they alleged that the road would cost them over 450 acres of multi crop land and 300 residential houses in the area.

About ten thousand people belong to farming community are afraid that the road, a proposed “bypass” if constructed to save the encroached shops and houses along the existing PWD road, it would create major problem for their survival as they largely depend on farming land spread over at least four mouzas.

Angry residents of Srirampur, Mansahati, Habaspur, Kalupur, Duttapulia, Natunpara, Khalpara leaving

A villager showing his piece of agricultural land that would be acquired if the proposed bypass is constructed

A villager showing his piece of agricultural land that would be acquired if the proposed bypass is constructed

their political differences have launched a movement forming “Krishi Jomi O Bastu Bhita Raksha Committee” and have appealed state government to take up the issue with the centre.

Sources in district administration said that it has compelled to propose for a ‘bypass’ as an alternative changing the initial plan to widen the existing PWD road due to its narrow zigzag stretch with crowded shops and residential houses most of which are illegally constructed. Insiders in administration claimed that the decision was changed after local businessmen raised objection.

However, SDO of Ranaghat Prosenjit Chakraborty said: “The alignment of the road is yet to be finalized. During the initial meetings no stakeholder raised any objection. However, if the villagers have any objection, their grievances would definitely be sorted out”

Sources in district administration claimed that the alignment for bypass in Duttapulia was accepted in a meeting on April 27, 2017.

Bharatmala is the largest ever road project launched by Narendra Modi government under which 51000km, four-lane wide road will be constructed covering 100-district headquarters which are located in bordering and coastal areas. In the first phase of the project 20000-km will be constructed.

“The alignment of the road is yet to be finalized. During the initial meetings of the stakeholders none raised any objection. However, if the villagers have any objection, their grievances would definitely be sorted out”Prasenjit Chakraborty, SDO, Ranaghat

Krishi Jomi O Bastu Bhita Raksha Committee (KJBBRC) convenor Sunil Biswas, a Trinamul Congress leader said: “From newspapers we first learnt that the existing PWD road would be widened. But, in January we came to know about the bypass when officials of the RITES came to our village to take measurements to settle the alignment for bypass. They shown us in detail about the road plan which clearly indicated that six villages with over 450 acres of agriculture land will be acquired”.

The angry villagers in last week chased the RITES officials when they went to the village again to collect sample of soil for testing for construction of a bridge on the proposed bypass over river Ichamati.

The Duttapulai area under Ranaghat-II block is densely populated area with people belong to backward (SC) farming community.

The narrow and zig zag stretch of existing PWD road in Duttapulia

The narrow and zig zag stretch of existing PWD road in Duttapulia

Ganesh Biswas (60), president of KJBBRC, who would lose 12bigha agriculture land and house, said: “It is unfortunate that administration ignoring the problems of poor farmers and only concerned about the those businessmen who have been doing business illegally occupying PWD land”.

The proposed bypass, has meanwhile created a division in the local traders’ body. The vice president of traders’ body Amay Mondal has joined the movement with farmers as secretary of KJBBRC. He said: “Administration should remove encroacher from the existing PWD road to use it under the project as per initial plan”. But, Sankar Roy, secretary of traders’ body said: “We have appealed the administration to change alignment otherwise around 400 shop-owners and their families would be in starving condition”

Samir Poddar, local Trinamul MLA said: “Even though no final decision has been taken, but the issue has created a dilemma before the administration. I would appeal the administration to save interest of both”

Sugata Saha, Project director NH authority Krishnanagar who would execute the Bharatmala project in Nadia said: “The Bharatmala project is aimed for high speed driving track for which straight stretch is preferred. But in Duttapulia we found the existing road is not straight. Moreover it is crowded for which RITES, our surveying agency explored an alternative alignment as bypass”.