The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday cleared a roadblock stalling construction of the Dwarka Expressway, a link road cutting through residential blocks that was sanctioned nine years ago to decongest the snarl-plagued Gurgaon Expressway.
The court vacated its stay on construction along a 2.5km stretch of the 18km-long Northern Peripheral Road (NPR) or Dwarka Expressway, connecting Dwarka with National Highway 8, which was stuck in litigation as property owners along the proposed thoroughfare demanded a fitting resettlement plan.
The new expressway, which was to be ready before the 2010 CWG Games, will allow traffic from the Jaipur side to skip the Gurgaon Expressway and head straight towards Dwarka and IGI Airport.
Haryana’s additional advocate general, Amar Vivek, said 700 people who had challenged the land acquisition process in 2008 had accepted the government’s rehabilitation package. The package says around 300 affected people will get free plots, while money for building new houses is to be given to those who already have homes there. A January 31 deadline has been fixed to vacate the buildings.
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) was given possession of the disputed plots on Wednesday as the court disposed of 11 of the 13 petitions. The remaining two cases will be heard on May 27.
The order also brought relief to owners of 40,000 housing units constructed along the proposed road, which don’t have proper access because of the incomplete NPR.
“We welcome the decision of the government if it is giving equal land (equivalent in size to the plots being taken away) and cost of construction for new houses. However, it is still an injustice because the alignment of the road and the Gurgaon Master Plan were changed to suit the builders,” said Shiv Narayan Yadav, owner of a school in New Palam Vihar.
Yadav said his two-storey school would be demolished to accommodate the 150-metre-wide NPR.
The Haryana government had acquired 600 acres for the project but property owners, who sought a route change, moved the high court in 2007 and 2008.
The compensation process, too, was stuck after the state government decided to pay only those who had registered their plots.
Later, around 650 people holding a general power of attorney for their properties were also included in the compensation list, paving the way for a settlement.
Real estate developers were delighted by the high court order as more than 100 private housing projects have come up along the NPR.
“Litigation on a small patch of the NPR has held up about Rs 50,000 crore of investment by property buyers. Now that a settlement between the government and the affected people has been reached, all eyes are on HUDA to complete the remaining portion of the NPR,” said Navin Raheja, chairman of the National Real Estate Development Council.
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