Narayan Rane's bungalow remains despite orders of demolition angers villagers
As officials dilly-dally on demolishing Narayan Rane's bungalow as part of NH17 widening, villagers raise their voice against unpaid compensation
Tara village residents are fuming. Reason: Narayan Rane's bungalow is still standing, despite the collector office of Pen issuing notice to Nitesh Rane and family on September 8, giving them eight days to demolish part of their property, for which they received compensation, as part of NH17 widening project. Worse still, no government official seems to have woken up to take action either. In 2016, residents of Tara gaon received notices for demolition of their properties, as part of the project, and all houses were razed down within a month. So you can imagine their chagrin that Rane's bungalow continues to be whole even two years later.
Displaced in a heartbeat
A villager, Samadhan Patil, 32, said, "In 2015, I spent Rs 6 lakh redecorating my house, and the next year came the notice, giving me 10 days to demolish it. I didn't have another home, so I requested officials to give me a few more days to shift elsewhere with my family, but in vain. Five days after I was served the notice, my house was demolished. We slept out in the open for a week. Later, other villagers helped me to get a rented accommodation near our village.
"And yet, no work or development has happened in my area over the last two years. They merely destroyed our lives, promising me a compensation of Rs 3.43 lakh, which I haven't even got in its entirely. But where will I get a house in this amount? And why hasn't Rane's bungalow been demolished even now? They only seem to be troubling the poor." Another villager, Narendra Ghodinde, lost his mother during this whole thing. With his wife paralysed, he too sought more time from the authorities, but government officials called the police to get him thrown out of the house. His son had to give up his IT dreams and discontinue his graduation to start earning for the family.
"I had a 1,400-sq-ft ground-plus-one home, which also housed my shop. We earned enough to run the household. In 2008, I have received the first letter from the government, stating I would be compensated with Rs 21.85 lakh. But in 2016, my plot's value seemed to have magically decreased, and I was paid only Rs 1.25 lakh. When I opposed it, government officials brought in the cops. I showed them the 2008 letter, but the deputy collector actually said they didn't have the money to give me. Rane has so many homes, but we don't have any. Why are politicians more important than the common folk, who are working hard just to live their lives?" he questioned.
Mum's the word
mid-day tried to reach Collector of Alibaug Vijay Suryawanshi twice, but his PA, Ashok Rathod, said he isn't available. Deputy Collector Pratima Pudlwad said, "Villagers have got compensation as per 2016 property rates. We'll demolish the house in question soon."
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