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Cleared: Hurdles on NH-5

Joint team razes shop

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 22: Four government agencies today joined hands to demolish a liquor shop that was obstructing the expansion of NH-5, at Acharya Vihar Square.

It took a joint team of the National Highways Authority of India, the municipal corporation, the development authority and the general administration department to remove the liquor shop that was earlier served an eviction notice.

The shop was also responsible for severe waterlogging in the area during last month’s depression-induced incessant rainfall.

An official said that the shop was located on a private plot measuring around 25 decimal on the verge of NH-5.

The highway authorities had acquired the land for expansion and had also paid compensation to the shop owner.

However, the shop allegedly continued to be in business even after that.

Last month, there was huge waterlogging at Acharya Vihar Square following the torrential rainfall as the drain passing under the highway was blocked near the liquor shop.

This caused inconvenience to commuters as vehicles remained stranded on the road for hours and the highway authorities drew people’s flak along with the city administration.

When the authorities finally made arrangements to drain out the water by cutting the road, the accumulated water entered a private hospital in the vicinity.

“We had served eviction notices on the owner of the liquor shop. But, he was not responding. Today, we decided to demolish the structure,” said a highway official.

Though the national highway authorities had paid the land acquisition fee to the owner in January, he was not vacating the plot and was carrying on with his business.

The liquor shop had been operating there for over 15 years. But, it stood in the way of expansion of NH-5.

“We were present on the spot as the highway authorities wanted us to be there. The entire structure was demolished, which will allow the highway authorities to expand the road on this traffic square,” said Sumita Behera, assistant commissioner (recovery) of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.

She also added that demolition would help in solving the waterlogging problem at the busy junction.

A senior police officer said that they provided security cover during the eviction drive. “The highway authorities had sought our presence and we were there to help them. But, there was no untoward incident,” said the police officer.

Later in the day, the municipal corporation conducted another eviction drive to clear a road going into Nayapalli near the Kalyan Mandap in front of the Odisha Electrical Regulatory Commission office at Unit-VIII.