Cuttack, July 5: Orissa High Court has taken cognisance of a report in The Telegraph and suo motu registered a public interest litigation (PIL) on squatters blocking an approach road to Bhubaneswar railway station causing inconvenience to commuters.
The court treated the contents of the report, “Raze Drive: Hit some, miss some”, published on June 9, as a PIL saying the matter was of public importance.
The report was on the drive to remove the encroachment near the railway station around Master Canteen Square and the absence of similar action on the other side of the station next to the Cuttack-Puri national highway (Buddha Nagar). It also focussed on indiscriminate dumping of garbage causing problems to both commuters and local residents.
Acting on the report, the division bench of Chief Justice A.K. Goel and Justice A.K. Rath had last month fixed August 8 for listing of the PIL for hearing. The state government has been directed to file its response by then.
The departments and organisations named as parties in the case include the general administration department, revenue and disaster management department, housing and urban development department, Bubaneswar Development Authority and the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.
The public interest litigation concerns the important thoroughfare at Buddha Nagar, a prime residential area of Bhubaneswar, which connects the city’s railway station with the Cuttack-Puri national highway.
Commuters are facing difficulty in reaching the railway station as the approach road has remained blocked for years due to illegal occupation by slum-dwellers.
Encroachment by the slum-dwellers is not only causing problems for residents of the engineers’ colony, but also creating an unhealthy atmosphere in the area because of the dumping of garbage on the road.
The report said the problem of dumping solid waste on the road had aggravated after 2010 as the East Coast Railway constructed a boundary wall to keep their land free from encroachment. The slum-dwellers have since been dumping their daily waste on the road.
Civic authorities had allegedly made provision for water by digging a bore-well, but as pipe-water connections were made available on the road, the slum-dwellers are practically living on the road leading to the railway station. At night, the road remains fully blocked with the squatters parking their vans and rickshaws there.