More than 500 shopkeepers and 50 residents of Jindowal in Banga town,13 km from SBS Nagar are uncertain about their fate. They are distressed as the Union road, transport, and highways ministry has not taken up their demand of shelving the 3km bypass project, even after a month of their meeting with Union minister of road and transport Nitin Gadkari. As per sources the project will hit the businesses of shopkeepers here.
A seven-member delegation of Banga Vyapar Mandal had met Gadkari on March 28 in this regard. Further, they are feeling dejected as the state government is also not lending any help in taking up the issue with the central government.
With no option left, the shopkeepers are knocking doors of judiciary against the elevated road project which may put the, 80.82 km ambitious four-lane, project from Phagwara-Banga-Nawanshahr-Ropar into a legal tangle.
A shopkeeper and organisation’s convener Rajesh Dhupar said, “We are tired of visiting the ministers and their offices with our demand but to no avail”.
“Gadkari had assured to issue directions to National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in the meeting but till date, no written orders, have been released” Dhupar added. “We are not going to give up easily and we have planned to approach judiciary as both Union and state governments made false assurances”, he added. Running their agitation ‘Banga Bachao-Bypass Banao’ the protest has received support from the residents of Jindowal village falling on the main road. Lately females have also come up in more numbers.
Local residents Harvinder Kaur, Rashpal Kaur, and others informed that part of their houses falling under the land, needed for the project, will not be handed over at any cost. They demanded that the government should consider an alternative to the bypass road as their livelihood is at stake. Dhupar claimed, “The old survey report of the bypass is still with PWD officials.”
“The government should immediately review it for the welfare of people” said Dhupar.
Colonel NK Jain, project director, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) said, “We have not received any letter about the bypass and there is no change in the project as of now.”
Gadkari along with former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had laid a foundation stone for the project from Phagwara-Banga-Nawanshahr-Ropar on September 14 last year.
The project is worth ₹1,367 crore. Badal had held Bhoomi-poojan for the project in Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral village of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, on December 21, last year. In Banga sub-division, 21.395 hectares land across 19 villages, has been earmarked to make way for the widening of the road for which the administration started the process recently.