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HC seeks report on highway upkeep

Ranchi, Dec. 9: Jharkhand High Court directed National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the state road construction department on Monday to file a status report on repairs and maintenance of NH-33, especially the stretch connecting the capital with Jamshedpur.

A division bench of Justice D. N. Patel and Justice P. P. Bhatt, while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Sudhir Mahto, also ordered the state principal chief conservator of forest, A. K. Malhotra, to be made a party to the case.

NHAI state project director Awdhesh Kumar told the court that tracts of land belonging to the forest department, between the capital and Hazaribagh, needed to be acquired for expansion of the road. Kumar informed the court that NHAI was committed to taking up the job and that the road was to be converted into a four-lane expressway.

Kumar informed the court that the work to repair the stretch between Jamshedpur and Ranchi had already begun and that the road would be ready by the end of January next year.

The bench expressed its concern over the condition of the highway between the steel city and the state capital and described it as “horrible”.

There was no road at all and travelling had become next to impossible, the judges noted.

The court, while accepting the submissions of Kumar, fixed the next date of hearing on February 2, next year.