Calcutta, Dec. 9: Sher Shah Suri's 16th century map of GT Road will have to be pulled out to ascertain whether it was 160-foot wide originally, as a petitioner has claimed in the high court, or 20 foot, as it is now in Uttarpara.
Justice K.J. Sengupta today directed the principal secretary of the public works department to produce the original map prepared during Sher Shah Suri's reign ' over 450 years ago ' by December 16.
Yasobanta Rakshit, a resident of Uttarpara, Hooghly, about 20 km from Calcutta, had moved the court alleging that the government had failed to remove encroachers from a stretch of GT Road that has been reduced to less than 15 per cent of its original size.
'According to Sher Shah's plan, the width of the road should not be less than 200 feet. But at present, its width ' between Gouri Cinema and Doltala ' in Uttarpara is 20 feet because of unauthorised construction on both sides,' Rakshit alleged.
His counsel, Subroto Mookherjee, had told the court in June that accidents and traffic snarls were the order of the day in the area. 'The authorities have turned a deaf ear to repeated pleas for removal of the encroachments,' Mookherjee said.
Hearing the petition, Justice Sengupta had asked the PWD to state in a report its stand regarding the allegation.
A report by a PWD engineer in Hooghly, Durga Charan Chakraborty, submitted before the court today, said the department had taken all possible steps to maintain GT Road.
The reply neither satisfied the petitioner nor the judge.
Rakshit's lawyer told the court: 'I went to the area three days ago and saw the situation remains unchanged. A few days ago, a 10-year-old schoolboy was run over by a vehicle in the area. The administration had assured the agitating residents that it would take steps against the encroachers, but nothing has been done yet.'
The lawyer sought the court order to bring the original map of GT Road, which is with the PWD.
'According to the original map, there is a 20-ft open space on both sides of the road, which is 160-ft wide. In reality, a major portion of the road has been taken over,' he said.