Encroachment of land within Dimapur Railway Station

Encroachment of land within Dimapur Railway Station has been highlighted through a series of reports in media during the past decades and rendering the station to rank below other smaller and newer stations under Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR).

As a consequence of illegal occupation on railway land by encroachers including some religious structures, the planned double-track from Dhansiri is skirting Dimapur and being diverted through Dillai to Bokajan.

It may be recalled that on August 26 during the flagging off of the Donyi Polo Express from Shokhuvi Station, the GM (NFR) Anshul Gupta told media persons that unless land was made available, no development could take place. The GM had also said that the railways is embarking on eviction of all encroachers on the strength of the Supreme Court order issued on December 16, 2021 and also followed by another directive on December 17 to act against Railway officials who allowed encroachments. The GM also added that the Supreme Court order going to be followed and that Dimapur being no exception.

When his attention was drawn to claims by some group of encroachers that the land belonged to them and were protected under Article 371A, Gupta pointed out that NFR has been in Dimapur since 1901.

When media contacted DC Dimapur Sachin Jaiswal IAS on whether the district administration had received any request from NFR seeking assistance for eviction drive as per Supreme Court’s (SC) 2021 directive. Jaiswal replied that no such request had been received. He, however, said that the district administration and the police had been assisting and would continue to assist and support NFR in evicting encroachers whenever requested.

He even cited a recent action where the district administration along with the police had recently assisted the railways in demolishing a market set up on railway land. Asked whether the State government was solely responsible for eviction of railway land encroachers, Jaiswal replied that as per The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971, the designated Estate Officer of NFR was the appropriate authority to summon or issue show-cause notice, make inquiry and pass eviction order against any illegal occupants, encroachers or unauthorised construction on railway land.

He cited Clause 4 of the Act that authorised the Estate Officer appointed by the President of India to issue a summon letter to the person concerned if the office had information that the person was an unauthorised occupant of a railway premises and that he/she should be evicted.

The DC Dimapur mentioned that all senior divisional engineers (SDE), divisional railway managers (DRM), divisional engineers (DE), extra divisional executive officers (EDEO), additional railway managers (ARM) and deputy general managers (DGM) are appointed by the President of India as Estate Officers to exercise powers and perform duties under The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 in their respective jurisdiction.

The Act specifically states that the notice should be issued within seven working days of receipt of information to the person concerned to show-cause why an order of eviction should not be made.

Clause 5 of the Act further states that after considering the case, if the estate officer was satisfied that the premises was an unauthorised occupation, he could issue order of eviction to the person within 15 days. Claus 5 also grants powers to the estate officer to cause eviction, (5A) remove unauthorised construction, (5B) order demolition of unauthorised construction and (5C) power to seal unauthorised structures.

It may be noted that due to encroachment, the NFR has had to skirt Dimapur for construction of the double-track and diverted it from Dhansiri-Dillai-Bokajan.

Dimapur Station’s revenue has also dropped due quota being reduced and also extension of all trains introduced for Dimapur to other parts of Assam such as Jan Shatabdi to Jorhat, BG Express to Mariani and Nagaland Express to Ledo.

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