Residents oppose demolition of bridge to clear way for Katra-Amritsar-Delhi National Highway : The Tribune India

Residents oppose demolition of bridge to clear way for Katra-Amritsar-Delhi National Highway

Residents oppose demolition of bridge to clear way for Katra-Amritsar-Delhi National Highway

Residents of villages surrounding Qila Jiwan Singh in the Mannawala area stage a protest. Tribune photo



Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 6

Residents of over 20 villages surrounding Qila Jiwan Singh in Mannawala area are perturbed over the government’s plan to demolish a bridge over the Kasur Nullah to clear the way for the under-construction Katra-Amritsar-Delhi National Highway.

Apart from threatening to start a protest at the construction site to get the work stopped, they have asked the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to construct an alternate bridge before demolishing the old structure.

A demolition team of the NHAI reached the place on Monday. However, a stiff resistance from local residents forced the team to return.

Sarpanch Joginder Singh of Qila Jiwan Singh said farmers had land on both sides of the nullah and the bridge was the only connection to the other side in this area. “People from several villages in the area have been using this bridge to travel to either side of the nullah for decades,” he said.

The residents said ideally the NHAI should have constructed an alternate bridge to provide a passage to people before demolishing the old bridge. “Even the route of the highway could be altered to bypass the bridge without having to demolish it,” said Lakhbir Singh Nizampura, a prominent farmer leader from the area.

Lakhbir Singh said they had expressed their concern to senior officials of the administration earlier too, but even after that a team with heavy land movers reached the area to demolish the structure. “Even now NHAI officials have stated that interests of the local farmers would be taken into account before taking any decision,” he said.

Local residents threatened to initiate a protest at the construction site if the NHAI failed to construct an alternate bridge or change the route of the national highway. The residents stated that being a controlled-access highway, it would have access points at long distances, which would cause difficulty in free movement from one side of the highway to the other side.

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