Villagers turn millionaires overnight as Centre offers compensation for land acquired by the Indian Army during the 1962 war to build bases, bunkers, bridges, and roads.
It has been 56 years since the villagers of West Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh lost their land to the Indo-China war. The 1962 war led the Indian Army to acquire huge tracts of land to set up bases, bunkers, and barracks; construct roads, and build bridges and other installations. But the landowners received no compensation in exchange.
Till now. The Central Government recently announced Rs 38 crore as compensation for the land acquired by the army. At a special function in Bomdila, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu distributed cheques to villagers.
“A total of Rs 37.73 crore has been given to the villagers. Those were community lands. So the huge amount they received will be distributed amongst the villagers,” Rijiju told PTI.
The Union Minister, who also belongs to the region, had a hand in getting the sanction from the Defence Ministry.
“Lands acquired by the army were done in National interest, but no government bothered to pay compensation to the villagers of Arunachal Pradesh since the 1960s. I am thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for clearing it finally. Total cheques of Rs 37.73 crore were handed over,” he said.
The compensation ranged between Rs 6.31 crore and Rs 5.98 crore. The chief minister said cheques worth Rs 13.17 crore had already been distributed.
In April 2017, the Centre released Rs 54 crore for 152 families in three villages of West Kameng district. In September last year, the Centre sanctioned the release of another Rs 158 crore as compensation for private land taken over by the army in Arunachal Pradesh, a report in the Hindustan Times said.
In February this year, Rs 40.80 crore was handed over to 31 families of Bomja village in Tawang district. While 29 families got Rs 1.09 crore each, one family got richer by Rs 6.73 crore and another by 2.45 crore, the report added.