Compensation for squatters hit by double-tracking work


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 19 May 2004

BY FOONG THIM LENG

IPOH: Six squatter families in Gunung Cheroh, off Jalan Raja Musa Aziz here, who have been affected by falling rocks and dust pollution due to blasting activities during the construction of the double-tracking railway project, will be moving to low-cost flats in Buntong. 

State Consumer Affairs and Unity Committee chairman Datuk G. Rajoo said each family would pay a monthly rental of RM100 for the three-room flat. 

“They can move in by July,” he added. 

He also said 90 families from other areas affected by the double tracking project had moved to the flats in Buntong.  

ALL EARS: Rajoo and Tan listening to complaints by squattersM. Sivaraj, 39, and Kavitha in Gunung Cheroh, Ipoh.

A total of 110 units have been built to accommodate those affected by the project and another 300 will be ready by the end of the year. 

Rajoo said the state government would seek compensation for the squatters' zinc roofs, furniture and a television set damaged by rocks, which fell through their roofs during blasting works. 

He was speaking to reporters after visiting the squatters with state Health, Science and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Tan Chin Meng yesterday. 

Tan advised contractors involved in the double-tracking railway project from Rawang to Ipoh to be cautious and not cause inconvenience to the people staying nearby. 

He said the state government was concerned about the problems faced by the low-income families as a result of the project and was looking at ways to resettle them. 

Squatter, A. Kavitha, 34, claimed they would receive notice from the contractor to stay away from their houses for several hours on the days when rock blasting took place. 

On one occasion, Kavitha said, she found her house ransacked and two gold chains missing, when she returned after the blasting.  

“My furniture and television set was also damaged by rocks that had crashed through the roof. We also have to bear with the dust. My children are suffering from coughs, fever and diarrhoea because of the unhealthy environment.”  

A spokesman for project contractor, DRB Hicom, said only small explosives were used to blast a lower portion of the hill about 80m from the houses. 

“The rocks flew off because of the cracks and fissures in the limestone hill,'' he added, saying that rock blasting works on the hill had completed. 

He also said the company was willing to pay for repairs to the zinc roofs and added that its top management would be informed about the demand for compensation by the squatters.  

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