Kharar-Ludhiana highway project

Objective stands defeated, people are suffering: HC

Objective stands defeated, people are suffering: HC

The project has jumped several deadlines and is nowhere in sight of completion in the near future. Tribune photo: Vicky

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today minced no words to say that the objective behind the Kharar-Ludhiana highway project stood defeated due to inconvenience to the general public.

The Bench of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Karamjit Singh also made it clear that the authorities were expected to take prompt action. For expediting the matter, the Bench also directed the member concerned of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to hold a meeting with the Punjab Chief Secretary before apprising the court of the details on the next date of hearing.

As the case came up for resumed hearing, the NHAI project director was present before the Bench pursuant to order dated February 3. The counsel appearing for the NHAI, on instructions from the project director, submitted that there were certain impediments in the completion of the highway and the same would be brought to the Punjab Chief Secretary’s notice. The counsel for the petitioner, in the meantime, brought to the court’s notice that GMADA had no authority to take action for demolition of a gas agency. He also relied upon an order passed by the court in a case related to demolitions.

GMADA counsel RS Khosla, in response, submitted that the order passed in the case would be taken into consideration by the authorities and the court would be apprised on the next date of hearing.

Before parting with the order, the Bench added that there would be no bar on acting in accordance with law, if there was violation of any statutory provision.

The judgment referred to makes it clear that a development authority was not authorised to direct the demolition of constructions if the master plan or regional planning area was not notified for the land.

The Bench, at the same time, ruled that its orders would not bind other authorities, which may find the construction to be in violation of other provisions. They would be at liberty to act in accordance with law.

The counsel in the case, Charanpal Singh Bagri, had argued that the master plan was not notified by GMADA for an area where demolitions were sought to be carried out. As such, GMADA Additional Chief Administrator was not authorised to invoke the provisions of the Act to direct the demolition of the construction raised by the petitioners therein.

The state counsel, on the previous date of hearing, had informed the court that the NH-V was being laid by the NHAI from Kharar to Ludhiana. The Mohali district administration had earlier set a deadline of March 31 for the company.

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