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Nhai Acquired Structures Yet To Removed For Manali Road Widening, ET Infra

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KULLU: Hundreds of structures, which were acquired by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) after paying compensation in crores of rupees for widening the Chandigarh-Manali highway, are still to be removed.

According to the information procured under the RTI Act, 232 such structures are standing along the highway between Pandoh and Dadaur in Mandi district alone. Many of the acquired structures, which were partially damaged by the NHAI, have even been rebuilt by the owners.

In the RTI reply, NHAI’s land acquisition unit has also informed that since structures have been rebuilt it is difficult to know which ones are new and which one old.

Most of these structures were acquired between 2014 and 2018 and were compensated for in the same time period.

The owners of all these structures have also been issued notices by the NHAI. However, no action on razing them has been taken so far. The NHAI had started an anti-encroachment drive along the highway in March this year, but it was later stopped mid-way.

The information was sought by Bilaspur-based Fourlane Visthapit and Prabahavit Samiti (FVPS). “The NHAI acquired these structures long back and paid a compensation in crores of rupees. The only explanation for not razing these structures is that the NHAI officials must be hand-in-glove with the owners of these structures,” said FVPS general secretary Madan Sharma.

“We have marked over 500 such structures (on the Chandigarh-Kiratpur highway) during field visits. Since the government has acquired these structures after paying compensation, these are now encroachments on government land. And if the NHAI doesn’t do anything, it will only encourage fresh encroachments on government land,” he added.

Meanwhile, the NHAI is still to recover over Rs 5 crore it paid in compensation to 38 people of Bilaspur and Mandi districts during the land acquisition process for widening the Kiratpur-Manali national highway.

After paying the compensation, the NHAI in 2018 had asked its land acquisition department to provide a list of all such structures constructed on government land and to initiate the process for recovering the paid amount.

In many cases, structures on government land were shown to be on private land in revenue records through fraudulent means and compensation worth crores was taken from the NHAI.

In one such case detected recently by the FVPS, a building of a resident of Ghumarwin in Bilaspur was declared as an encroachment on government land and orders were issued to raze it in 2014. However, two years later the owner got a compensation of over Rs 40 lakh from the NHAI for the same structure in 2014. As per the FVPS, no action has been taken by the NHAI in this case even after a decade.

  • Published On Sep 25, 2023 at 11:22 AM IST

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