Panaji: Karnataka villagers protest relocation for second time

Panaji, Jan 11 (IANS) Villagers of Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district have written to President Pranab Mukherjee and the Prime Minister’s Office to stop and reconsider the extension of national highway 17, saying many people would have to relocate for a second time due to the coming up of a central government project.

The residents claimed that a number of people were relocated to lands along the highway during construction of Indian Navy’s “Project Seabird” two decades back and some had not even received compensation for the land acquired at that time.

“As common people we believed the assurances of the central government and gave up our land for the country when ‘Project Seabird’ was started 20 years ago,” Madhav Nayak, spokesperson for the affected villagers of Karwar who have formed a citizen’s committee, told reporters in Panaji.

“But until now, only a few families have received compensation. There are a large number who, after 20 years, still await compensation. Over 200 families now face the threat of losing land,” he said.

The letter to President Mukherjee and the PMO says that “… with great difficulty the land-losers are somehow struggling to resurrect their life which they have lost under the guise of ‘Project Seabird’. But now the same land-losers are being targeted for the second time, now with NH-17, by issuing notification under the National Highways Act”.

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