Shajapur: Delay in land acquisition is proving a stumbling block in expediting the Agra–Bombay NH 3 by-pass road project here in Shajapur, even as thousands of villagers in these areas are unhappy at the project speed. The project includes four-lane 30-metre wide CC road construction of 141 kilometres from Biaora to Dewas including Shajapur bypass for around Rs 4,000 crore. Initially, the work was done at Central-level but later the project was handed over to Oriental company through tender process and it was started in October 2016 and has to complete by 2018-end.

However, the project was stalled due to inordinate delays in land acquisition. Project officers here are blaming the delay to land acquisition work and lack of support from the administration. According to information, the acquisition process was started in 2003, but the work is still half done as many farmers are yet to hand over their land as majority of them are yet to get compensation from the administration and many cases are pending in the court.

Villagers complained that as the NH was passing through Shajapur locality, several road mishaps had occurred in the past and tens of people lost their lives in them. The delay is also a matter of concern for the project company as it could raise the project cost. When contacted, Oriental’s project manager JP Tiwari admitted that Shajapur by-pass construction work won’t be complete within the timeframe.

Tiwari said, “The project work is going at rapid pace, but at a few places work got struck because of land acquisition as a few farmers and villagers are yet to get compensation for their land and property. Authority will settle the issue with the help of local administration. Some farmers took court’s shelter.

Water canals are also cause of concern and the authority is in touch with the irrigation department,” Tiwari said.

When contacted, RR Dhade, manager, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) said, “Authority has cleared compensation amount of majority of farmers. In a few pending cases, landowners are yet to receive complete compensation of their land and they rushed to the court. However, we had meeting with the farmers and will clear their dues as per the collector guidelines.”

About a house belonging of one doctor at Sunera village which is turning into a hurdle, Dhade said, “Authority will remove all the hurdles as the house owner has already lost the case in court.”

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