The Rs 155-crore Ranchi Ring Road project, aimed at ending traffic snarls in the capital, is experiencing unexpected hiccups within two years of its commencement.
Villagers of Nagri have put brakes on the construction of a flyover on the proposed 23km, six-lane road alleging illegal acquisition of land.
The district administration claims that plots were acquired in lieu of compensation to owners, but villagers have a different story to tell.
"Officials say that our land, agricultural fields have been lawfully acquired. If so, how come we got no money. None of us know anything about acquisition. When did it happen?" said Ghanshyam Turi, a resident of Nagri.
Sources in the district administration said an "abortive" land acquisition bid had been carried out in 1958. The "official holder" of land, Birsa Agriculture University (BAU), failed to get possession and that allowed descendants of then land owners to retain the plots, which are coming in the way of the proposed road.
"The flyover, to be constructed after a 10.7km stretch, will connect NH-75 (near Kathitand on the Ranchi-Daltonganj route) with NH-33 (near Vikas Vidyalaya on the Ranchi-Hazaribagh route). But work has been halted because local villagers are opposing construction, saying that the land belongs to them," said a senior project official. He said the protesters had erected a wire fence and a display board claiming ownership.
According to plan, the project has been divided into seven phases. The official deadline for the project is July 2010, but only 20-25 per cent work has been completed in the past two years. The project, a joint venture of Delhi-based Somdutt Builders and Shrinet & Shandilya Construction Private Limited, has exhausted Rs 30-40 crore so far.
Ranchi additional collector Birsa Oraon said Governor Syed Sibtey Razi had recently sought speedy execution of the project. "But we are facing a problem. Efforts are on to solve the matter through negotiation. I have directed the concerned circle officer to get details of the land in question," he said.
Telegraph / June 3, 2009