The Indian Railway’s Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) is paying more than Rs 14 lakh to well over 700 squatters who have been deemed as ‘Project Affected People’ as their shanties occupy railway land. This is the very reason why there is rampant occupation on railway land by illegal squatters who also form vote banks for political parties.
These structures are on the 102 kms long JNPT-Vaitarna stretch for DFC project are less than 200 sq.feet in size but the remuneration received is almost Rs 7000 per sq.feet. There are 273 squatters who are occupying some 600 meters vital stretch near Kopar station in Thane district. Of these 105 squatters have agreed for cash compensation of Rs 14.17 lakh each and demolitions have begun from June 21 onwards. The land appreciation is also substantial as five years ago, the rate of cash compensation was Rs 5.50 lakh per PAP.
Sources said that 65 squatters have already given their keys to their homes and payment has been made through RTGS in their bank accounts. In fact senior officials also said that many of them even protested and were against clearing their homes after taking cash compensation. There are at least 70 families who have asked for alternative accommodation of 269 sq.feet and are being given one at Kalyan near railway station.
“This is a critical section as it forms access to the DFC link till JNPT. Without clearing this railway land, we could not lay lines for DFC that will pass parallel to Diva-Vasai rail corridor,” said a senior railway official.
Through this weekend, the demolition drive will continue and the authorities aim to demolish at least 200 structures before July 15, so that they have access to construct the missing link for the DFC corridor at Kopar. The entire demolition of 2,700 squatters on this JNPT-Vaitarna section is expected to happen in three months’ time.
The DFCCIL authorities will be giving close to Rs 75 crore to these 700-750 odd squatters called as non-title holders who have opted for cash compensation. They will be paid 60 percent of amount initially after handing over keys and remaining 40 percent after demolition. Over the past few days, the authorities removed 50 illegal structures and four cowsheds near Khargaon station.