The Bengal Post
Darjeeling-More than Rs 2 lakh was distributed among 37 people on Monday as rental compensation against the use of their land during the construction of the Mungpo-Kalikhola hydroelectric power project under the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL) back in the mid-90s.
Kurseong MLA Rohit Sharma gave out the cheques to the landowners at the district magistrate’s office according to the quantum of land they had given for the setting up of the road at Lower Bara Pubung bustee leading to the hydel power project.
“In 1995, when construction of the hydel project started, WBSEDCL required a road to take building materials to the construction site. For this, the road via Lower Bara Pubung was chosen. But, the existing road not being wide enough, about 37 families had to give some part of their land for the widening of the road,” said Sharma, who played a pivotal role in the land losers getting their due compensation.
“During the time of construction, an agreement had been made between the WBSEDCL and the land owners stating that compensation would be given within a period of two years. Although the project was completed within some years, the compensation was not disbursed within the aforementioned time. I took up the matter with the power minister and other senior officials of the department. After that, they decided to give the rental compensation to the owners,” said Sharma.
According to power department officials, just rental compensation was given because the WBSEDCL had only used the road during the construction of the project and at present, it is used by the villagers.
The compensation was given at the rate of `2,262 per decimal of land used. The total area that had been used for converting the already existing eight-foot-wide road to a 16-foot-wide one was about one acre and 19 decimals. The total amount distributed on Monday was about `2.7 lakh.
Speaking about the compensation received, one of the landowners, B B Dahl, said: “We had met the Kurseong MLA at a programme in our area and submitted a memorandum to him demanding our due compensation for the land we had given during the construction of the power project.
“He took up the matter immediately and we are happy with whatever amount we have received today.”