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Jammu and Kashmir High Court closes PIL on road widening project from Dalgate to Hazratbal

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court closed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) initiated by the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Forum, seeking direction to the respondents to complete the construction and widening of the road from Dalgate to Hazratbal, Srinagar.

The petitioner has also prayed from a direction to the respondents to remove all illegal constructions from Dalgate to Hazratbal, Srinagar, and accelerate the process of acquisition of structures coming in the alignment of the aforesaid road.

Respondents have filed status reports from time to time, indicating the steps taken by them to complete the subject road. In the latest compliance report filed by the respondents on 11th October, 2022, they have clearly delineated the steps, which they have taken to complete the construction and widening of the aforesaid road. They have pointed out the difficulties, which they are facing in carrying out the project. It is submitted by the respondents that the stretch from Dalgate to Kohnakhan has already been developed to its 4 lane status by way of construction of Bridge to Dalgate. The stretch from Rainawari Chowk to Zindshah Masjid has been widened to its 4 lane status.

Similarly, the stretch from Ashai Bagh Bridge to Nigeen Club and from Hazratbal to Habak Crossing has also been widened to its 4 lane status. It is, however, submitted that the stretch from Kohna to Rainawari, where the process of acquisition is under process, is yet to be taken up for construction/widening. It is submitted that out of 206 structures, 179 structures have already been settled by the High Level Committee and removed by the R&B, Department. There are still 23 structures to be acquired on the said road stretch, which include 13 cases of compulsory acquisition for which the process has to be set in motion by the Collectorate of land acquisition. It is submitted that 11 structures are creating bottlenecks at Khayam, Khanyar and Rainawari Chowk.

Having heard counsel for the parties and perused the material on record, including the latest status report filed by the respondents, the Division Bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar and Justice Puneet Gupta is of the considered opinion that there is no wilful neglect or inaction on the part of the respondents to construct the road in question. The Bench is satisfied with the steps taken by the respondents to complete the construction/widening of the subject road.

The High Court however, hoped and trusted that the bottlenecks, which are pointed out by the respondents in their reply affidavit in paragraph “b” under the head “Achievements” are removed at the earliest and the remaining stretch of road from Kohna to Rainawari, is also completed with requisite speed.

With the aforesaid hope, the Court closed the PIL, but leaving it open to the petitioner to approach the Court again if there is inordinate delay on the part of the respondents to complete the construction/widening of the road in question.

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