GUWAHATI: The NorthEast Frontier railway has put construction work in Ri Bhoi district on hold after attack on construction sites last month.
Ri Bhoi deputy commissioner C P Gotmare said work was being put on hold by the railway authorities for now in view of the prevailing situation in the state.
“Work for the rail project inside Meghalaya is being put on hold as of now although not exactly because of the incident,” the deputy commissioner said.
The deputy commissioner said workers were a bid scared after the incident but railways authorities told him that work could not resume since heavy machineries are not available at the moment.
Railway authorities have put the loss at a little over Rs 70 lakh based on an assessment of the damaged machineries at the construction site, he said.
Remnants of the damage heavy machineries at Ronghona village are the only signs of constructions that had taken place prior to the attack led by protesting Khasi Students Union (KSU) activists in the last week of May.
The district deputy commissioner acknowledges that the “biggest challenge” yet would be identifying the genuine land owners in the absence of official records of rights unlike other states.
“In the absence of the records of rights, identification and verification of genuine land owners was generally done based on documents (land pattas) issued by the autonomous district council or traditional chiefs, and the ground assessment was carried out by revenue officials with the assistance of local headmen,” he said.
The 2.5 km-long line in the district is to connect to another 10 km in Assam s Tetelia station and would have been the beginning of a railway connection with the state capital.
Estimated at a cost of around Rs 496 crore, the length of the railway line within Meghalaya is to connect to the state capital in the near future.
The KSU had opposed the proposed railway line to Khasi and Jaintia hills of the state demanding the government to put in place a strong mechanism to check influx of outsiders into the state.
Ri Bhoi and Shillong police have arrested at least nine KSU leaders and members for their alleged involvement following incidents of attack at the railway project site at Ronghona village and in the state capital.
Meanwhile the deputy commissioner, who had relaxed the prohibitory order earlier, has re-imposed the order under section 144 CrPC in the entire district at night between 6 pm and 6 am restricting assembly of more than five persons at any government premises/offices/government organisations.