The Supreme Court has ordered status quo on the demolition of Kalka-Shimla road encroachments till February 10, providing a temporary relief to shopkeepers.
As soon as a bench comprising Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justice Aftab Alam stayed the Punjab and Haryana High Court directing the razing of the illegal structures from today, several traders assembled at Kali Mata temple in the town distributed sweets among visitors. The order, however, did not stop them from continuing to empty their shops. Uncertain about their future, most preferred not to take any chances. They began removing illegal fittings and structures since morning, though their anguish was more than palpable.
“These structures have been standing for more than decades while some for more than a century. No official agencies had then said they were encroachments,” said Lovely Verma and Bharat Bushan, both shopkeepers. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had issued notices to 242 shopkeepers for their encroachments. As many as 39 of them had moved the Supreme Court.
The local administration’s workforce remained present in the market throughout the day to ensure no untoward incident took place. Panchkula Deputy Commissioner R.K. Kataria, SP Sandeep Khirwar, NHAI project director Col K.P. Sharma and other officials remained on the spot with adequate police personnel and more than six bulldozers. They were telephonically informed about the apex court fiat in the afternoon.
Jam sessions continue
Traffic was disrupted in Pinjore on the Kalka-Shimla road despite traffic police and administration top officials visiting parts of Kalka. Motorists stuck in long queues of vehicles on the Pinjore-Nalagarh road as well as Pinjore-Panchkula stretch bemoaned the poor traffic regulation arrangements, which had become common.
Bypass work on
The construction for the 29.6-km long Pinjore-Parwanoo bypass continued in full swing near Mullah road. NHAI officials said the bypass — a part of the Rs 400-crore Zirakpur-Parwanoo four-laning project on the National Highway 22 — was likely to be completed in the next 30 months. The route would begin from Mallah village bridge (less than 200 metres short of Pinjore Garden) and move along Kaushalya river touching Kanguwal, Bitna and Tipra villages of Panchkula district and two villages along the same river on Parwanoo side in Himachal Pradesh before joining the old 10-metre wide Parwanoo-Shimla stretch near the Timber Trail resort.