The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court on July 12, directed District Collector, Bhandara for redressal of the grievance of the Petitioners within a period of four weeks, whereby the fundamental right of the Petitioners to carry on with their business has been adversely affected.
The grievance of the Petitioners is that after the construction of the road under the bridge, petitioner No.1 (Ellora Paper Mills Limited factory) which is the paper mill is unable to procure raw material required for the manufacture of writing paper, printing paper, kraft paper, packing paper so on and so forth, which is brought to the factory premises by bigger vehicles having containers mounted on them, which are unable to pass through the newly constructed road under the bridge.
P. B. Agrawal, counsel for the petitioners submitted that the maximum height of the road underbridge from the road level is 3.75 mtrs. and whereas, the bigger container vehicles bringing raw material to the petitioner No.1 factory have a maximum height of 4.63 mtrs. He further submitted that these vehicles cannot use an alternate road because that road passes through several villages and has sharp bends at some points and has even hairpin bends at the other because of which the containers are not able to negotiate the turns without possibly causing damage to the person and property of the villagers.
N. P. Lambat, counsel for Union of India informed the court that there was already a meeting convened by the District Collector to discuss the problem faced by the petitioners and find out the possible solution on 06.07.2021 and that now the next proceedings are scheduled to be held on 14.07.2021, in which it is likely that re-survey of the entire area would be carried out. He submits that the petitioners have not brought on record these relevant facts.
N. R. Patil, A.G.P. for the state of Maharashtra submitted that if the Petitioners are interested in getting or having a solution, they may look at the construction of a road over a bridge already proposed about 01 km. away from the existing site of road under the bridge and consider as to whether or not they would like to share the cost of the same by making their contribution under Corporate Social Responsibility fund for the purpose.
The Division Bench of Justice Anil S. Kilor and Justice Sunil B. Shukre while going through the documents placed on record, in particular the no objection issued by the Collector on 15.07.2016, is of the view that the present height of the road underbridge which is 3.75 mtrs., is in accordance with the no objection given by the District Collector after inviting objections from members of the public and this no objection is subject to certain conditions and, therefore, it would be for the District Collector, Bhandara to consider and take appropriate decision in the matter as regards the fulfillment of the conditions imposed in the no objection dated 15.07.2016.
About the alternate road to be made available for the passage of bigger container vehicles also, the Bench is of the view that the appropriate authority to decide this issue would be the District Collector, Bhandara as there is the likelihood of involvement of several disputed facts.
The Court observed that besides, objections from members from the public had also been invited by the District Collector before he issued a conditional no objection, way back in the year 2016 and it appears to that although Gram-panchayat had taken objection, the petitioner No.1 company or anybody on its behalf never raised any objection before the District Collector and the objection that was taken by the petitioner No.1 company was before the Divisional Railway Manager (Engineer SouthEast Railway Nagpur).
In fact, the objection was required to be taken before the District Collector, Bhandara. Moreover, the Petitioners have also not questioned the stipulation of a maximum height of 3.75 mtrs. for the road under a bridge in the no objection given by the Collector on 15.07.2016, in any manner, further observed by the Court.
“Nevertheless, whatever grievance the petitioners may be having now, we are of the view that it is the District Collector, Bhandara who should be the appropriate authority to consider and resolve the same. Accordingly, we direct the petitioners to approach the District Collector, Bhandara for redressal of their grievance in the light of the conditions stipulated in no objection dated 15.07.2016 and if the petitioners appear before the Collector within one week from the date of the order, the Collector, Bhandara shall examine the issue from the viewpoint of the fulfillment of these conditions of no objection certificate dated 15.07.2016 or otherwise and take appropriate decision in the matter within a period of four weeks thereafter, the order reads.