Friday, December 8, 2023

Rajasthan High Court disposes PIL filed assailing the action of the NHAI in widening Mandal bypass

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The Rajasthan High Court has observed that National Highway Authority Of India (NHAI) shall ensure that the newly proposed Mandal Bypass is completed expeditiously and preferably within a period of two years, so as to facilitate the movement of traffic on the highly congested NH 158 and to avoid possibility of frequent accidents, which occur because of the faulty design of the Z-shaped Railway Over Bridge (ROB).

The Division Bench of Justice Sandeep Mehta and Justice Kuldeep Mathur has disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed assailing the action of the respondent NHAI in widening/constructing the existing Mandal Bypass and to direct the respondent NHAI to act in accordance with its decision dated 12.05.2021.

The petitioners have raised an issue of public safety, owing to the faulty design of the Railway Over Bridge, constructed by the respondent NHAI at the Village Mandal, District Bhilwara which was admittedly constructed about 11 years ago.

B.P. Bohra, counsel representing the respondent NHAI and Union of India, has filed status report on record as per which, the NHAI itself has taken steps for long term solution of the Z-shaped existing Railway Over Bridge on NH 158 and a new Mandal Bypass, with a fresh Railway Over Bridge, is proposed to be constructed.

The consultant has already commenced the work for preparation of Detailed Project Report. A map for construction of the alternative road has been annexed with the factual report.

Usman Ghani, counsel representing the petitioners submitted that the State Highway Authorities are also constructing an alternative road and thus, there is multiplicity of road constructions on the same route, which would cause a huge loss to the public exchequer.

B.P. Bohra, submitted that the grievance raised by the petitioners and the residents of Mandal regarding faulty design of the existing ROB, was examined and found to be justified and thus, for the present, the steps are being taken to widen/realign the old existing route on NH 158. Some issues have cropped up because of burial ground located on the proposed route. These issues are being addressed and likely to be resolved shortly hereinafter.

In view of the facts noted above, the Bench was of the view that the averments made in the status report submitted by Bohra, that the NHAI proposes to create new Mandal Bypass with a well designed ROB so as to resolve the problem created by the faulty Z-shaped ROB constructed about 11 years ago shows that bonafide steps are being made in this matter.

To facilitate the movement of traffic in the intervening period, the Bench observed that the respondent authorities shall ensure that the realignment process on the existing road is completed at the earliest.

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