IMPHAL | Jun 12: Affected Land Owners’ Association against the Construction of Mega Food Park at 44-Yaithibi Loukol has demanded the return of their lands reportedly acquired by the government for the purpose of construction of National Sports University as the sports university complex will not be constructed in the area.
Speaking to media during a press meet held today at Manipur Press Club, secretary of the association, K. Manihar made it clear that the land they donated was for the construction of National Sports University only and not for construction of other structures like Mega Food Park.
He noted that villagers of Langthabal Khunou, Koijam, Sora and Laijing Meenou, in the interest of the sports spirit of the state, agreed to donate the land during the previous Congress government regime in 2014. “As such one ‘Sangam’ of paddy field (approximately 0.62 acres), which normally costs Rs 10-15 lakhs were donated for construction of the university at the nominal cost of only about Rs 3 lakh,” K. Manihar said.
During the acquisition, the MLAs and even the then chief minister, Okram Ibobi promised the villagers to provide one job in the university to one family, besides constructing houses for the donors in 0.20 acre area of land, Manihar recounted while pointing out that the government acquired more than 400 acres of land during the land acquisition for construction of the sports university. Some of the donors are yet to receive compensation for the same, he added.
The association secretary further contended that the current BJP government is using force to construct the food park against the will of the villagers. Earlier during the Congress regime, the BJP government in the centre saved the fertile soil of Yaithibi Loukol from being utilised in construction of the university by shifting the construction to Koutruk. “However, it is very unfortunate that the state BJP government is presently using repressive measures to construct the mega food park by imposing CrPC 144 in the area,” Manihar stated while also expressing strong condemnation against the repressive measures used by the government.
Intimating that the government officials came for land demarcation for construction of the food park around 15 days back, he said that demarcation was carried out using force and heavy deployment of security personnel after the villagers opposed the same. Despite the repressive measure, the villagers will never allow the construction of any other structure other than National Sports University in the fertile soil of Yaithibi Loukol, he asserted.
The association secretary went on to say that the villagers will return back the compensation given by the government and demanded that the land be also return back to the rightful owners, i.e., the farmers. Utilising the fertile soil of the paddy fields for construction of structures, which the farmers do not consented for, is snatching away the only means of livelihood of the farmers, he lamented and further warned that the villagers will not remain mute spectators but launch various forms of intensified agitations to reclaim their rights in the paddy fields.
Taking part in the press meet, one villager of Koijam Maring village, M. Korungthang also informed that the land was acquitted without the consent of village authority chairman or members of autonomous district council, which is violation of the law of the land.