The face-off between the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the Army regarding the service lane from the Rajokri flyover towards Palam Vihar along National Highway 8 might take a legal turn as work remains suspended even after the onset of monsoon.
Sanjay Jain, the proprietor of Gawar Constructions Ltd, entrusted with making the service road, said, “Though army personnel have been trying to disrupt work on the 3-km road since the beginning of the work, I have lodged a formal complaint with the NHAI this time.”
NHAI sources said that this time project director Ashok Kumar Sharma, in his capacity as the magistrate of the Court of Highway Administration, may issue summons to army personnel who have been disrupting the construction of the service road.
Sources said the NHAI contractor was carrying out work on NHAI land and the army had no authority to stall it. Interestingly, NHAI administration can frame charges against the army personnel concerned for trespassing and unauthorised occupation.
According to NHAI sources, any disruption in its work by more than five people is tantamount to unauthorised occupation, while that by less than five people amounts to trespassing.
The bone of contention is the 540-metre stretch of the said road that falls along an army land.
The NHAI wanted to acquire some army land so as to widen the road from 5.5 metre to 7.5 metre, a proposition that the army declined.
“With a view towards public good, after the army declined to part with the land, we commenced work on our land, but army personnel have disrupted our work and have even confiscated the hardware of the contractor,” said a highly placed NHAI official.
It may be mentioned here that t he construction of service lanes along the National Highway 8 near Rajokri flyover was stalled on June 15 due to a land dispute between the National Highway Authority of India and the Army.
The deadlock came only four days after the contractor began work on the project, which is in the last leg. The NHAI had asked the contractor to complete the project before the onset of monsoon.
According to an NHAI official, about 540 metres of the three-km service lane falls along a land belonging to the Army.
The service lane is being constructed so that slow-moving vehicles do not have to maneuver through the busy traffic on the expressway.