The Indian Institute of Geomagnetism located at Lai Mer, Upper Shillong which had earlier stood firm against parting with any land for construction of the four-lane road from Umshyrpi to Umtyngngar has agreed to shift by approximately 150 metre, subject to the relocation cost being borne by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).
This is as per the short status report pertaining to the Shillong-Dawki road filed in the division bench of the Meghalaya High Court through the Joint Secretary, Public Works (R&B) Department.
The report stated that the institute has agreed that work on the stretch can continue even though the ultimate fate will depend on the readings of the reallocated position of the observatory.
The report also stated that as far as the second package of the four-lane project is concerned, two of the landowners have withdrawn their objections. However, a third landowner has not collected the compensation awarded.
On this, the High Court asked the Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills to ensure that the third landowner does not stand in the way of the work on the second phase being undertaken.
As to the third package, the modified alignment of the Pynursla by-pass has been finalised by the State government. The new alignment will be forwarded immediately to NHIDCL and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for final approval. Further, the detailed survey for acquisition of land, forest clearance and shifting of utility lines would be taken up only after the approval by the ministry.
“This part of the project appears to be delayed, but there is an agreement on the part of the State and it is hoped that if the new alignment meets the approval of the NHIDCL and the ministry, the urgency provisions in the land compensation statute will be invoked to acquire the land,” the court observed.
In respect of the fourth package, both the State government and the NHIDCL are on the same page that the alignment cannot be altered. The State has now to negotiate or otherwise acquire the requisite land. The report indicated that the contract awarded has to be foreclosed since no activity can be undertaken.
As far as the fifth package of the project is concerned, the Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills has been directed to take action in respect of the part of the land through which the proposed road will pass in Wahkdait, Mawriang and Umsyiem villages. Apart from such portion of the work, the tender for the balance work has been invited and the last date for bids has been fixed on August 2.
The High Court expressed hope that the works in all five packages commence and continue in earnest as it is essential to have a widened corridor to Dawki as well as a flyover to ease the congestion at Umshyrpi which is the entry point into Shillong.
Meanwhile, the status report stated that the modified alignment of the flyover at Jhalupara has been approved by the State government.
The court also stated that the earlier orders stopping felling of trees for the proposed Jhalupara flyover will continue and the felling of the remaining trees can take place only after the flyover work commences. The next hearing on the matter will be held on September 12.