The issue of the construction of a flyover bridge on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur National Highway in Moga took a new turn on Tuesday when hundreds of shopkeepers gathered at a common place and constituted a Flyover Roko Sangharsh Samiti (FRSS) against the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
The FRSS also decided that if the Punjab government fails to create pressure to stop the construction of the flyover, the former will move to the Punjab and Haryana high court in next few days against the decision of constructing a bridge within the municipal corporation's limit.
On the other hand, though the union government is only authority, which can change the proposal of flyover construction on national highways, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the Opposition Congress have started politics on the matter. The leaders of both parties have come to the support of businessmen's demand for cancelling the proposal and announced that if people start agitation in future, they will join it without hesitation.
According to information, the estimate of this bridge has been finalised and the contractor has also started the work on four-lane Ludhiana-Ferozepur road. The flyover is proposed to be constructed by filling earth in 7km distance from Bughipura Chowk to Dunneke village in Moga.
Hundreds of businessmen went to the deputy commissioner office under the directions of Gursewak Singh Saneaasi, president of FRSS, and handed over a memorandum to administrative officials.
"The flyover will divide the Moga city into two parts. Citizens are worried that if such a situation is created in the city, business prospects will suffer," said Saneaasi.
Dawarka Nath Bansal, president, Citizen Welfare Council, said the entire traffic coming from Rajasthan, Haryana, Bathinda, Patiala, Sangrur and Barnala to Ludhiana had to pass about 6 km away from Nestle outside the boundary of municipal corporation.
"Ludhiana-bound vehicles will be diverted from Bughipura Chowk to Ludhiana road, whereas traffic going to Jalandhar and Amritsar will pass through this chowk where bypass is already operating through Lohara Chowk. Under these circumstances, there is no need of any bridge within the municipal corporation limit," he added.
Sources revealed that the union government had already passed the 4-6 laning project, right from Jalandhar to Jind via Lohara and Bughipura chowks, Moga, Barnala and Sangrur.
Joginderpal Jain, local MLA of the Congress, said the NHAI can save Rs 740 crore by cancelling the proposal to construct a flyover in Moga city. "While the bypasses are available at all sides of the city, there is no need of any bridge. I will ask Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh to take up the matter with the union minister concerned," he said.
Former agriculture minister Tota Singh said he will raise the issue pertaining to the flyover in the state assembly. "I have talked to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for writing to the Centre in this regard. If the union government does not cancel the proposal, businessmen as well as public of Moga will suffer," said Tota Singh.
Barjinder Singh Brar, former president of municipal corporation, Moga, had submitted a separate letter to the deputy commissioner on Tuesday with the support of 29 former municipal councillors. "We cannot bear the division of the city into two parts and SAD is completely with the business community of the city. I along with 29 former councillors will definitely join the agitation regarding the flyover issue," he said.
When contacted, additional deputy commissioner Joram Beda said the administration has forwarded the memorandum regarding the flyover to the union government on Tuesday. "I have also held an emergency meeting with the higher officials of the NHAI as well as the contractor concerned. Though the NHAI has finalised his plan, I hope that the matter will be solved soon," he added.