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The Himachal Pradesh High Court today directed the National Highway Authority, State Public Works Department and Shimla Municipal Corporation to identify the encroachment on the government land, unauthorized construction violating different laws on six kilometres long junction of Hindustan Tibet National Highway between Sanjouli toDhali.
The Order passed by Division Bench of acting Chief Justice Mr Sanjay Karol and Justice Mr Ajay Mohan Goel on Monday, released to media today pointed out that two roads that fall under Hindustan Tibet, National Highway -5 junctions are the main arterial roads, leading to the border of the Nation. The Bench observed that total length of said roads is not more than six kilometres including the stretch of a road from Sanjauli Tunnel, Dhalli side to a place which is commonly termed as Mashobra or Kufri junction and Sanjauli- Dhalli bypass road from Government College for boys to Dhalli Bus Stand.
The Court said that Shimla, Kufri, Narkanda are places of significance and importance from the point of trade, tourism and pilgrimage as they alone cater to the tribal areas of the State and the entire economy of more than two districts is much dependent upon the road being free from any obstructions. The Traffic has to flow freely and smoothly on this highway. The bench also noted that being State capital, the state hospital is accessible only through these two roads. The order said that such roads could not be allowed to be either encroached or construction raised in violation of the law.
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It further ordered that if any one of the owners has raised construction or is in the process of doing so in violation of the law, it should be open for the Commissioner to forthwith take appropriate action, in accordance with law, instantly directing disconnection of water and electricity to the concerned premises and the authorities should also identify all encroachers and take steps for their removal.
The Court also directed the Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police, Shimla, should ensure compliance with this Court. After going through the record submitted by the National Highway authority in this matter the Court said that there are misgivings in the records and officials concerned should remove the infirmities after before the next date of hearing on or before Jan 5 in the matter. The Court also pointed out that encroachments and unauthorized constructions were raised alongside the roads as the affidavit filed by Superintending Engineer, National Highway Circle on Shimla the last date of hearing said that there are at least 76 encroachments identified and the process of identifying further encroachments is under progress.
Earlier the Court noted that departmental reply in this matter is conspicuously silent as to whether any structure stands constructed unauthorized beyond the sanctioned plan or limits or not. The Court directed the MC Simla to come up with the reply whether government land stands encroached or not, whether landowners have raised construction within the acquired or controlled width or not, whether the structures raised on both sides of this road uphill and down-hill are in accordance with the Municipal bylaws and sanctioned plans or not etc. Mr Praneet Gupta Amicus Curiae pointed out that perhaps structures have been built in violation of not only the H.P. Roadside Land Control Act & H.P. Road Infrastructure Protection Act but also the Municipal Laws.
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