Tribune News Service
Moga, April 10
Hundreds of residents of Machike, Himmatpura, Baude, Madheke, Badhni Kalan, Buttar and other villages blocked the Moga-Barnala national highway-71 at Machike village in Nihalsinghwala sub-division of Moga district recently.
They were demanding adequate compensation — four times the market rate — and 30 per cent rehabilitation money to those people whose land and commercial/residential buildings are being acquired by the government for widening the highway.
As a result of the protest, traffic was stuck on NH-71 for more than three hours.
Local trade unions of farmers, labourers and employees of various government departments also joined the protest to press for higher compensation to those people who were being uprooted from their commercial establishments.
The government has already initiated the process to acquire land after the Ministry of Environment and Forests granted forest clearance to the four-laning of the Jalandhar-Moga-Barnala national highway last year. The estimated cost of widening the highway is Rs 3,000 crore which will be built on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode.
It will uproot 22,700 trees and affect more than 10,000 people whose agricultural land, commercial and residential properties are being acquired for thiss project in Jalandhar, Moga and Barnala districts.
This highway will serve as an alternative route to New Delhi from Jalandhar passing through Nakodar, Dharamkot, Moga, Badhni Kalan, Barnala, Sangrur and other towns in Punjab and Jind, Rohtak, Hisar in Haryana.
The protesters alleged that the government has not yet notified the rates of agricultural, commercial and residential land that was being acquired for widening the road. They alleged that thousands of people in Moga district would lose their shops and other commercial establishments, but the government has not yet assured them of rehabilitation.
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