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Monday, June 24, 2024

Status report of Shillong-Dawki road presented to HC

Hearing a PIL on Tuesday, the Division Bench of the High Court of Meghalaya said that it is encouraging that several of the impediments appear to have been removed and work in respect of several of the five packages may be ready to be awarded.

Shillong:

A short status report pertaining to the Shillong-Dawki road under the JICA funding has been filed in Court through the Joint Secretary, Public Works (R&B) Department of the state.

Hearing a PIL on Monday, the Division Bench of the High Court of Meghalaya said that it is encouraging that several of the impediments appear to have been removed and work in respect of several of the five packages may be ready to be awarded.

It is recorded that the modified alignment of the flyover at Jhalupara has been approved by the state. The Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, which had earlier stood firm against parting with any land, has consented to shift by approximately 150 metre, subject to the relocation cost being borne by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited.

The institute has agreed that work on the relevant stretch can continue even though the ultimate fate will depend on the readings of the reallocated position of the observatory which the Court observed that there is no doubt that even such aspect can, ultimately, be resolved.

“As to the second package, it appeared that two of the landowners have withdrawn their objections. However, a third landowner has not collected the compensation awarded. It is hoped that the Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills ensures that such third person does not stand in the way of the work on the second phase being undertaken,” the Court stated.

As to the third package, the modified alignment of the Pynursla bypass has been finalised by the state.

The Court said, “The new alignment will be forwarded immediately to NHIDCL and the relevant Ministry for final approval. The detailed survey for acquisition of land, forest clearance and shifting of utility lines may be taken up only after the approval. This part of the project appears to be delayed, but there is an agreement on the part of the State and it is hoped that if the new alignment meets the approval of the NHIDCL and the Ministry, the urgency provisions in the land compensation statute will be invoked to acquire the land.”

In respect of the fourth package, both the state and the NHIDCL are on the same page that the alignment cannot be altered.

The Court observed that the state has now to negotiate or otherwise acquire the requisite land. The report indicates that the contract awarded has to be foreclosed since no activity can be undertaken.

The Court said, “It is hoped that matters pertaining to such fourth package are expedited. Apropos the fifth package, the Deputy Commissioner of the East Khasi Hills district has been directed to take action in respect of the part of the land through which the proposed road will pass in Wahkdait, Mawriang and Umsyiem villages. Apart from such portion of the work, the tender for the balance work has been invited and the last date for bids has been fixed on August 2, 2023.”

The Court added, “As far as the present matter is concerned, which pertains to the felling of trees for the proposed Jhalupara flyover, the subsisting directions will continue; that is to say, that only upon actual work commencing will the remainder of the trees be felled and the felling of trees should not be completed any earlier.”

The Court hoped that the works in all five packages commence and continue in right earnest as it is essential to have a widened corridor to Dawki as well as a flyover to ease the congestion at the entry point into Shillong in the Cantonment area.

The matter will be listed on September 12, 2023.

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