2219: Contrary to reports that a deal has been struck with all the villagers, half the remaining households have not yet accepted the developer’s vaguely worded compensation offer.
This is the current position:
- Those who had left much earlier and signed – 9 households
- Those who have now accepted and signed – 12 households
- Those who have not signed – 12 households
The above information was provided to me by Sugumaran, the village committee chairman, when I contacted him a moment ago.
“The 12 (who have not signed) are with us now.”
I asked him what they were looking for.
“We want a concrete proposal and not the vaguely worded offer that was given to us earlier. We want an assurance that if, for whatever reason, Nusmetro is unable to continue the project, whoever takes over the project will continue to honour the offer. The state or any other party must be willing to provide such a guarantee.”
Sugumaran added that the villagers, whose backs are against the wall after yesterday’s display of force and arrests, will be holding a meeting among themselves tomorrow night. Few outsiders – especially those who have never stepped foot in the village – understand what it is like for them to lose their village.
The villagers, still emotionally recovering from the traumatic experience yesterday, want the loopholes in the compensation offer to be removed and a proposal that spells things out clearly.
Leaving politics aside, to me, it’s not unreasonable to ask for something concrete; there have been too many previous cases of villagers and pioneers who were offered and promised all sorts of things to entice them to leave – only to find themselves stranded later because they had nothing legally enforceable.