Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal's dream project of developing an elevated path on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala road in Basti Bawa Khel is likely to hit another roadblock, with forest minister and local MLA Chunni Lal Bhagat raising objections to it.
The foundation stone of the 1.25 km elevated road, which will start from Drona garden and will end at the petrol pump near the sports surgical complex on the Kapurthala road, was laid by Sukhbir Badal on February 10 this year and the tenders for the project were expected to be floated shortly. The elevated road will be completed within two years of the approval of tenders.
However, Bhagat, who is Jalandhar West MLA where the project would come up, has contended that if the construction of the elevated road is undertaken, it would have bad implications on the businesses being run in the area.
"We are not against development. Rather, we have suggested the government and the deputy CM to make four-lane roads over this stretch. It would ease out the traffic congestion and the business of the locals would also be saved. If businessmen are hit because of the elevated road, what would be the use of have this kind of development?" said Mohinder Bhagat, son of Chunni Lal Bhagat, who handles all political affairs of his ageing father.
In a meeting chaired by deputy CM last week, where all local MLAs of Jalandhar were present, mayor Sunil Jyoti had also apprised Sukhbir of the objections to the project raised by Bhagat.
The project will cost Rs 55 crore and the central government has already approved its detailed project report (DPR) and agreed to sanction 80% financial aid under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) while the remaining 20% will be contributed by the executing agency which is Jalandhar Improvement Trust.
At present, the road is around 70 ft wide and a large portion of it is blocked due to illegal parking, vendors and other encroachments, leading to frequent traffic jams.
In fact, Bhagat's objections to the project also have a political aspect as the area is dominated by Bhagat community which always supports him during the assembly polls.
Sources said even the construction four-laning would not be possible on the entire stretch as on a big part of this stretch, people have set up shops by encroaching upon the land and votebank politics may again come in the way of the project aimed at easing out the congestion on the stretch.
"Wherever there are encroachments, civic body can remove them, but how can anybody ask the people who are owners to vacate the land. A four-lane road can come up wherever the land is available," said Mohinder Bhagat.
Sources said that it is now for the municipal corporation to decide whether it wants to go ahead with the construction of the elevated road or opt for the four-laning of the existing road. If the corporation changes its mind and goes in for the four-laning of the road, the entire DPR would have to be be changed accordingly and the project can face more delay.