HC nod to acquisition of land for shifting toll plaza
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday allowed the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) to take control of 50 acres in Panchgaon for shifting the Kherki Daula toll plaza and developing a transit hub.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) plans to create a 36-lane toll plaza at Panchgaon to replace the Kherki Daula toll plaza on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway.
Confirming that land would be allotted to the HSIIDC, Lokesh Sinhal, additional advocate general (Haryana) and counsel for HSIIDC, said, “The court has given 50 acres for shifting the toll plaza from Kherki Daula. Also, it was decided in the proceedings that the work of shifting the toll should be started immediately.”
The counsel for new sector residents, who, for several years, had been demanding that the toll plaza be shifted, said that it was up to the state government to acquire the land for setting up the toll plaza at the earliest.
Kartikeya Iyer, counsel for United Association of New Gurugram, said, “After the arguments, the court has said that the state government can set up the toll plaza within the 50 acres at Panchgaon and the land be given to them.”
The state government had instructed the HSIIDC to acquire the Panchgaon land for development purpose in 2014, after which landowning farmers from seven villages had moved the court opposing the move.
The HSIIDC had sought 1,128 acres in Panchgaon for development purposes from the landowners. Of the 1,128 acres, 50 acres land will now be allotted to the HSIIDC and the case for the remaining acres between ‘Fertile land protection movement vs Union of India’ will continue, Iyer said.
“The case on the rest of the farmland has not been quashed and it will continue. The next date of hearing, in this case, is November 14,” added Iyer.
The arguments in the court went on for more than an hour, before the verdict was given. The HSIIDC will acquire the land, compensate farmers and hand it over to the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), who will, in turn, hand it over to the NHAI.
Earlier this year, the GMDA had asked the state government for 50 acres to construct a Rapid Rail Transit System (RRTS), multimodal transit centre (MMTC) and a toll plaza, so that the Kherki Daula toll plaza can be shifted.
V Umashankar, chief executive officer, GMDA, said he is yet to review the court order. “If the court order is what is being said, then the commitment of the chief minister has been upheld by the court. The process will start by paying compensation to the farmers, whose land has been taken up for shifting,” he said.
A copy of the order is likely to be released on Thursday. The NHAI needs 40 acres for the toll plaza at Panchgaon.
The lawyer for the farmers also confirmed that the HSIIDC had been allotted 50 acres at Panchgaon, eight kilometres from the Kherki Daula toll.
Adarsh Jain, the counsel for farmers, said, “The land being given for development purpose is a matter of concern for the entire state. Now, vehicle movement will increase, causing environmental damage and groundwater of this particular area will go down.”
Farmers said they would go through the court order and decide on their course of action. Ajay Singh, a resident of Panchgaon village, said, “Our land is going. We will have a meeting on Thursday to decide what we can do now.”
NHAI officials said that they will set up the toll plaza in three months of getting possession of the land. “Within three months after the transfer of encumbrance-free land to the NHAI, the toll may go. We have to receive land from HSIIDC first,” a senior NHAI official, who did not wish to be named, said.
NHAI officials said they need to set up the toll plaza first at Panchgaon before the one at Kherki Daula can be removed.
Millennium City Expressway Private Limited, the concessionaire for Gurgaon-Delhi Expressway, wants NHAI to compensate them for shutting the Kherki Daula toll before 2023, as per their agreement with the highways authority.
S Raghuraman, CEO, MCEPL, said, “The NHAI needs to compensate us if they will end the Kherki Daula toll plaza before 2023.”
The concessionaire officials went on to say that if the toll plaza is shifted from Kherki Daula, it would be difficult for the MCEPL to maintain the Gurgaon-Delhi Expressway. “If we are not earning, how will we able to maintain the 18km expressway?” said Raghuraman.
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