More than 56 years after India's war with China, villagers of Arunachal Pradesh have received nearly Rs 38 crore as compensation for the land acquired by the Army to set up its bases, bunkers, and barracks.
At a special function held, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu distributed the cheques to the villagers of West Kameng district on Friday.
"A total of Rs 37.73 crore has been given to the villagers. Those were community land. So the huge amount they received will be distributed amongst the villagers," Rijiju told PTI.
Among those who received the cheques include Prem Dorjee Khrimey, who received Rs 6.31 crore, while Phuntso Khawa got Rs 6.21 crore and Khandu Glow received Rs 5.98 crore.
After the 1962 India-China war, the Army had acquired huge tracks of land to set up its bases, bunkers, barracks, construct roads, build bridges and other installations.
However, no compensation was given to the land owners till last year. Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, had persuaded with the Defence Ministry and got the compensation amounts sanctioned.
"Lands acquired by the Army were done in national interest, but no government has bothered to pay the 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.
In April 2017, Rs 54 crore was distributed among 152 families of three villages of West Kameng district. In September that year, another installment of Rs 158 crore was distributed among the villagers for the private land taken over by the Army.
In February 2018, Rs 40.80 crore was handed over to 31 families in Tawang district. The pending cases of land acquisition related to the districts of Tawang, West Kameng, Upper Subansiri, Dibang Valley and West Siang in Arunachal Pradesh.