Tardy acquisition the roadblock in completion of Chandigarh-Kharar highway
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had handed over the Rs 369-crore project to Larsen & Toubro in September 2015 to facilitate movement of 50,000 vehicles on the busy road daily.punjab Updated: Aug 05, 2018 11:26 IST
Originally aimed to be completed by this year-end, the 10-km Chandigarh-Kharar highway project is all set to miss the deadline.
Reason: Administrative delays in acquisition.
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had handed over the Rs 369-crore project to Larsen & Toubro in September 2015 to facilitate movement of 50,000 vehicles on the busy road daily. The project entails widening of the road between Balongi and Kharar T-point, including construction of two flyovers and three minor bridges.
The work started in June 2016, but not much progress has been made. With the deadline just a few months away, the much of the land in question is yet to be acquired, all thanks to administrative apathy.
While only 35% work is completed, the company has been handed over just 45% of the land required for the project. Now the contractor says it will take at least two years more for completion, given it is handed over the remaining land on time.
Of total 16 acres, six acres are yet to be acquired. Of 560 structures, less than half have been razed but the district administration is moving at a snail’s pace when it comes to acquiring this land.
The first notification for land acquisition was issued in 2015, but the assignment could not be completed. The second notification came in 2017, but still no progress was made.
Meanwhile, as many as 216 house owners are awaiting compensation even as the district administration received ₹99 crore for reimbursements from the NHAI in May this year.
Their land has been acquired but the structures cannot be razed till the compensation is paid. Only around 250 owners have been paid the compensation so far.
NHAI project director KL Sachdeva said no more money will be provided till the previous amount in paid to affected house and land owners.
“Any project should be handed over to the company after land acquisition and other clearances. This project was supposed to be completed by December 2018 but I doubt whether land acquisition will be completed even by then,” said MS Aujla, former director, town planning, Punjab.
“The government should clear the land in question before allotting the project to any firm. A dedicated panel of officials of different departments should be formed in order to expedite the process,” he said.
Mohali sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) is the land acquisition officer. In many case, the administration has delayed the evaluation process of buildings to be razed. However, the administration is also blaming people for the delay as many reportedly do not come forward to collect the compensation amount even after agreeing to acquisition.
NHAI project director Sachdeva said there were some issues flagged by the firm.
“We have requested the district administration to divert traffic so that work could be done day and night. Only then we can complete this project on time,” he said.
“I will convene a meeting of all stakeholders to iron out issues. I have asked the officials concerned to look for an alternative to traffic issues at the work site,” said Mohali deputy commissioner Gurpreet Kaur Sapra.
First Published: Aug 05, 2018 11:26 IST