Rashid Paul

HC asks top officials to file status report

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Unwarranted delay in executing the road widening from Dalgate to Hazratbal

Srinagar: On the rupees 356 crore Dalgate to Hazratbal road widening project, the High Court has directed personal appearance of Deputy Commissioner Srinagar and Chief Engineer Roads & Buildings (R&B) in case they fail to file a status report about the land acquired and taken possession of for the purpose.

Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe expressed their disappointment at the slow pace of work on the project for which work, according to the official documents, was started in 2002.

The bench directed “a fresh affidavit in compliance to previous order of the court should be filed positively within one week failing which chief engineer R&B and the deputy commissioner Srinagar shall remain present before the court and shall inform us with regard to the status of land which stands acquired and possession where of taken over”.

It expressed its displeasure at the actions of deputy commissioner, the land acquiring authority. “He has not given specific details of the steps taken for acquisition release of compensation and taking over possession of the acquired land etc”, it said.

Hearing a petition complaining of unwarranted delay in executing the road widening from Dalgate to Hazratbal, the court had earlier also directed the chief engineer Roads & Buildings Kashmir to file on affidavit mentioning date-wise the steps taken for the purpose besides informing on the current status of the process of land acquisition for the project.

It also asked the officer to mention with time line the steps being taken cumulatively on carrying out the project so far.

Referring to the lack of funds for the initiation of land acquisition process as mentioned in the status report, the bench directed the deputy commissioner, Srinagar, the land acquiring authority, “to give specific details of the steps taken for acquisition, release of compensation and taking-over of possession of the required land as well as the status of the fund availability towards compensation which is payable”.

The court observed “a practice has developed that respondent officials file the objections/ status reports/ compliance reports and other pleadings without mentioning the dates on which the same have been signed or filed”.

However, Court today termed his report as deficient and not in tune with earlier directions, as such, he has been directed to submit these details or be present in the court on next date of hearing.

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