Construction of National Highway from Mental Hospital Square in Nagpur to Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh as the company is blackmailed on various counts by local political leaders
Once the United States President the late John Fitzgerald Kennedy had said: America has been developed and has become number one powerful nation on the Earth by excellent roads in the country.
However, local leaders of Nagpur district with vested interests have putting many hurdles on every second day in the development of National Highway from Pagalkhana Chowk (Mental Hospital Square) in Nagpur to Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh with the help of crores of rupees spent by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). The noted company, Oriental Group, which has been given the responsibility for the development of the road, is also facing the severe difficulties on this front.
Zilla Parishad member Nana Kambhale informed that implementing the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court order, massive encroachments on the stretch of the road from Mahadula to Koradi-based markets, were removed on January 24-25. He also made efforts to shift about 200 poor families on Ghogli Road near Vidyut Colony compound. Unfortunately, not a single leader of any political party rushed to help these poor families but left no chance in putting obstructions in the development of the four-lane National Highway for obvious reasons. The leaders assured that the company is denied an NOC from Pollution Control Board required for development of the road, leveling absurd charges of irregularity and corruption against the company, blackmailing the company for grabbing the contract for development of the National Highway by hook or crook thus putting unnecessary pressures on the company officials and other tricks.
It may be recalled that a bypass was constructed from Saoner to Multai and Pandhurna without any hitch. However, the stretch from Koradi-Mahadula having 40,000 population, was deprived of the development courtesy local leaders’ anti-development policy for obvious reasons. (For grabbing a share from the company). The traders, who always rush to the leaders for their interest, were also kept in dark about the benefits of developing the National Highway. If the local MLA had thought of traders’ benefit on the Mahadula-Koradi , he could have allowed the bypass along the development of four-laning National Highway. The company had started the work by the perfect technology needed to develop the road successfully. However, due to political pressure the company faced great difficulty in bringing construction material and ash from ash bund as the political leaders raised a bogus issue of pollution from the ash. The company is technologically is an expert company for carrying out the construction of four-lane highway and also a four-lane bridge on the road but leaders, who are absolutely “illiterate” as far as technology is concerned, have made a “dirty” strategy to put hurdles in the development of the stretch of road into a four-lane highway and cause enormous problems for the company, again for obvious reasons.
However, the local leaders fail to understand that once the road is developed in a four-lane highway, the rate of road accidents will decrease considerably, or say completely stop, the traders, industry owners and the people could finish their works within a short period and also reach homes much earlier than the previous long hours. Most importantly, the four-lane highway would help development of nation and the society.
Another disturbing fact has come to fore. The traders and farmers on the road, being developed fast from Koradi to Saoner, have become victims of discrimination and irregularities as far as paying compensation for acquisition of their lands is concerned. In this regard, Kishore Chaudhary, President of Highway Pidit Sangharsh Samiti, filed a petition in the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court. The petition has quoted the order of Karnataka High Court which stated that the development of four-lane highway is absolutely wrong by acquisition of lands under Sub-section 3(G) and 3 (j) of Land Acquisition Act. Chaudhary further said in his petition that the day the decision is taken for acquisition of lands of farmers, traders and house owners the compensation for such people has to be paid 30 per cent more than the present market value. The petition further said, the NHAI in a deceitful manner, by quoting the sub-sections State Highway Rules, has denied a rightful compensation to the affected people.The proposed rules of NHAI make it compulsory to remove the establishments, residences from acquired lands within a period of 60 days once the compensations are paid. This period, he said is very short and clearly a violation of human rights.
The petition clearly said the approximate budget for constructing the four-lane highway was at Rs 1600 crore which was increased by additional 400 crore with a pre-planned conspiracy by the concerned authorities. Secondly, an agitation was carried out by Highway Pidit Sangharsh Samiti under the leadership of Kishore Chaudhary against injustice and the wrong policies of NHAI forcing the Maharashtra Government to call a meeting. The meeting decided that area of land would be acquired only needed for the development of the highway. Various amounts of compensations and rates per acre were decided by the Central Government for different stretches of the highway. But, Chaudhary said a massive irregularity and discrimination have been noticed and demanded justice for the affected people.
The petition has been filed in the courts of Chief Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice A B Chaudhary. Kishore Chaudhari is being represented by Adv Prakash Tiwari, Adv Akash Tiwari and Adv R S Oza. The hearing and final judgement is likely in the month of June.