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Railway plea rerun for Lakes eviction

The Eastern Railways has renewed its effort to regain its tracks from illegal settlers at Rabindra Sarobar.

In a fresh petition filed before Chief Justice A.K. Mathur of Calcutta High Court on Wednesday, Eastern Railways general manager T.P. Sengupta sought an order asking the police and the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) to evict the unauthorised settlers from either side of the rail tracks, near Rabindra Sarobar, without further delay.

Sengupta sought the order on the basis of a recent apex court ruling, which observed that the settlers should shift elsewhere in order to reduce pollution in the Sarobar.

The Supreme Court observation followed complaints from morning-walkers and the Howrah Ganatantrik Nagarik Samiti, who alleged that shanty-dwellers were polluting the waterbody by bathing and washing clothes and utensils in it.

The Supreme Court, however, said that the eviction order would only be implemented after the necessary approval of Calcutta High Court.

A division bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justices Santosh Hegde and B.P. Singh, upheld on June 17 last the high court orders in regard to the eviction.

The high court had directed on December 14, 2001, and January 18, 2003, respectively, asking the police, the railways and the civic authorities to evict the encroachers within a month.

Soon after this verdict, Trinamul Congress MLA and leader of the Ballygunge-Tollygunge Railway Sangram Committee Saugata Roy filed a petition before the high court, pleading that the order be deferred for at least three months till April 30, so that children in the families facing eviction could write the Madhyamik exams.

But over the three months, the committee moved the apex court praying that the families be provided with alternative accommodation. The apex court did not take cognisance of the case and, instead, directed that the tracks be cleared at any cost.

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