Srinagar: Inordinate delay in land acquisition has hampered the road widening process between Batamaloo and Parimpora, the stretch prone to traffic snarls. The four-lane project was conceived to get rid of bottlenecks on the vital road but its completion has missed several deadlines. The main cause of the delay in completion of the project is the conflict between authorities and Qamarwari traders association on the acquisition.
The department of roads and buildings (R&B) started the widening of 6.4 kilometer stretch in 2004 after the authorities decided to take up the project in two phases–Batamaloo to Qamarwari and Qamarwari to Parimpora.
Even as the R&B has finished more than ninety percent of the work but the junction at Qmarwari Chowk remained unfinished. This causes bumper-to-bumper traffic jams in the area.
The government, according to All Qamarwari Traders Association, took 12 years to finalize a deal with shopkeepers whose shops fall under the first phase of the four lane project.
Former President All Qamarwari Traders Association, Abdul Rahim Fafoo said that they have held eight high level meetings with the authorities since 2003. “Had the process of compensation and negotiation been quicker, the project would have been completed on time,” Fafoo said.
Even as issue was resolved with 80 shopkeepers in the first phase in December 2015, the actual work continued to remain halted. The locals said that a few shops were dismantled but the process was halted midway.
Showkat Ahmad Bhat, President of Qamarwari Traders Union told Kashmir Reader that the authorities were not serious in resolution of the issue. “We have learnt that the officials intend to compensate the shopkeepers at the rate of Rs 10 laks per shop. This compensation was given a decade ago. How can thisis amount be acceptable now,” he said.
The traders union, according to Bhat, has submitted a file along with photographs of six sites to R&B department where they want to run business if their demands of compensation were fulfilled as per current rates. The six sites include, a piece of land available at Qamarwari-Chowk, Transport-Nagar Parimpora, Municipality complex in Parimpora, land available at Hajj complex in Bemina, land available near Ansari Tayota showroom in Parimpora and a land available at Bemina bypass crossing.
“Most of the shopkeepers want relocation rather than compensation but there has been no response on our pleas,” he said.
Assistant Commissioner Revenue Srinagar, Sajad Qadri told Kashmir Reader that land acquisition process has to undergo according to the land acquisition act. “It is not easy to negotiate as per the wishes of people. There are two ways of handling it. One, private negotiation is done with those who get affected and alternatively if it fails, the government goes for compulsory acquisition,” he explained. The compulsory acquisition has its own parameters where rates are being fixed accordingly.
Qadri said the department has already issued a notification in 2016 for second phase of the road widening from Qamarwari to Parimpora.