DP road development hits roadblock in form of encroaching slums

Road Development

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The road development works in city are facing hurdles in various forms with the encroachments being the major one. And when it comes widening of roads the haphazardly grown slums have been proving to be roadblocks. The live example is the 600-metre patch connecting Gitanjali Talkies on Central Avenue to Rajwada Palace near Gandhisagar Lake. A project to widen the Gitanjali Talkies Road to Rajwada Palace, which would serve as a crucial link between East Nagpur and North Nagpur, proposed three years ago, has hit a roadblock with the Municipal Corporation finding it difficult to remove the encroachments. The widening project is expected to reduce the travel time for motorists bound from South to Central or North Nagpur.

Slum dwellers, who have encroached upon a major chunk of land on this road, are causing hurdles for the NMC to carry out the road widening. For another 458.94 sq metre land, the civic body has approached the District Collector seeking possession of the state government land which is currently leased out to 11 different property holders. As part of its road widening project, the NMC’s Standing Committee had given its approval to widen the DP road in 2013. Subsequently, a project management consultant (PMC), Axykno Capital Services Limited, was entrusted with the task of preparing a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the road. The NMC paid Rs 5 lakh to the firm. Currently, the road is quite narrow, and at many places, only a single two-wheeler can pass at any given time due to encroachments. On completion of the work on the 600 metre stretch, the DP road would be 18 feet wide with a stormwater drain network on either side.

The Project Management Consultant identified 40 properties needed to be acquired by the NMC for widening work at an estimated cost of Rs14.50 crore. However, of the 40 properties mentioned in the DPR, NMC would require part possession of lands from the 11 property owners, who are lease holders of state government land and the slum dwellers who reportedly encroached even a portion of nullah, which is totally covered now. NMC has already approached the District Collectorate for the 458.94 sq metre government land. But, the biggest hurdle is the slum dwellers. Though illegal, an NMC official said the widening work has not been taken up as those who have encroached upon the road have a strong political support and as a result the slums have been registered as “Notified Slums.” The civic body requires around Rs 4.50 crore for infrastructure development work like road widening, but after considering compensation amount of the encroachers, the cost of the project will reach Rs 14.5 crore.

The PMC had still not carried out any survey, it has suggested the NMC to keep Rs 5 lakh reserved for shifting underground utilities. In fact, the slum-dwellers are not entitled to any compensation, but since they have a “Notified Slums” card, NMC will have to rehabilitate them, sources said.

– Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha ( rajeev.nagpurtoday@gmail.com )