Itanagar: The Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) has threatened to launch a vigorous statewide agitation from February 1 this year if the state government fails to grant justice to all the victims of the infamous Trans-Arunachal Highway (TAH) compensation scam.
“There is so much corruption in the state and one prominent example of that, which neither we (Congress) nor the public has been able to forget for long now is the TAH scam. More than Rs 240 crore of public money sanctioned by the Central government has been misused by several elected leaders, government officers and some corrupt individuals,” APCC president Takam Sanjoy told media persons in press briefing here on Saturday.
Sanjoy cautioned that if justice is not granted to the victims within the given deadline, we will be forced to launch a series of statewide protests
He said that the Congress party will call bandhs, organise processions, protest rallies and road blockades if the eligible benefactors were not paid their due compensation or if the state government fails to come up with a concrete solution to the issue.
Also highlighting the gross irregularities in payment of compensation to the genuine affected beneficiaries, Sanjoy alleged that a high-level nexus was behind providing benefits to a few people by depriving genuine landowners and farmers.
The Congress chief also claimed that he has access to the assessment report of the fact finding committee constituted to look into the matter.
“Innocent people are becoming victims of corruption due to the TAH scam. The assessment report has provided testimony that the elected leaders, government officers as well as many individuals of the area are involved in the scam,” Sanjoy asserted.
He further appealed all the ones who have taken the compensation money to follow the ‘Abotani rule’ (a local practice of honesty) and return the same to the government so that compensation can be distributed again and as per the first detailed project report submitted by the state government to the ministry concerned.
Commending Taba Tedir, the chief engineer of state’s urban development department who recently announced to return Rs 3.25 crore which he received as compensation for his property located at Billo village under Lower Subansiri district, Sanjoy called upon all the others who have received the compensation amount to follow suit.
Sanjoy also pointed out that the compensation rip-off has halted the double-lane work at the Joram-Palin, Potin-Pai Gate and Pai Gate to Bopi stretch of roads in the Lower Subansiri and Kamle districts besides also putting the security of the state and its people at stake.
“The people have protected the state till now despite the government not been able to build the strategic road. It is time now that the government protects its people,” Sanjoy said.
The Congress president further alleged the TAH scam has “proved beyond doubt that the BJP government in the state as well as the Centre is involved in the embezzlement and the same has negated the 'Na khaunga, na khane dunga' (would not take bribes, nor let anyone do so) slogan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
Action against all the persons involved in the multi-crore scam, immediate re-assessment of the entire stretch of road and early completion of the project were the other demands of the Congress.
The ambitious TAH project which promised to ensure faster access to the China border has been mired in a land compensation controversy since the beginning of last year.
After being cornered by allegations from various quarters and demands for CBI investigation into the matter, the special investigation cell of the state’s police had on July arrested former Lower Subansiri deputy commissioner, the district’s former land revenue and settlement officer and one prominent businessman for their alleged involvement in awarding compensation to fake owners of land acquired for a 30 km stretch of the TAH.
The state government has on the other hand also been assuring of strict actions against those who compromise with the development activities.