Four villages to protest irregularities in highway construction

Fed up with the uncaring attitude of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), villagers from four gram panchayat areas in Balh segment have decided to organise a rally and dharna in front of the national highway department office at Sundernagar on Wednesday.

The decision was taken at a joint meeting in Nerchowk area on Sunday to discuss the issue of the proposed four-laned 85-km Kiratpur-Nerchowk road announced in 2012.

Residents of villages lying in the Naulkha to Dadaur area alleged that the authorities were planning to construct a two-laned 4.74 km stretch through highly fertile and thickly populated area instead of the proposed four-laned road, while the rest would be constructed as a four-lane road through bypass.

They had even formed a joint action committee (JAC) comprising of the local beopar mandal, farmer organisations, and socio-cultural and religious associations in the area, which had repeatedly contacted the authorities, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying that more than 150 families, 250 business establishments, health institutions, six religious shrines and two drinking water sources would be affected by the construction, but to no avail.

The villagers alleged that the NHAI officials were deliberately ignoring objections made by the public through the land acquisition officer (LAO), pertaining to large-scale displacement and socio-economic loss.

“NHAI officials from New Delhi and Shimla have avoided attending three public meeting despite an invitation from LAO, so now the JAC will take the issue to the roads for justice,” said Joginder Walia, JAC secretary.



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