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Penalty warning over toll bridge

Ranchi/ Jamshedpur, March 25: Jharkhand High Court today once again pulled up the state government for delaying the completion of the vital Adityapur toll bridge over Kharkai and reiterated its threat to impose a hefty fine in case of noncompliance of the order.

The bench gave the government a month and directed it to get the work done in three shifts to meet the deadline.

The court was told that as many as 30 encroachers had been removed from the area near the proposed bridge, but more people needed to be evicted. In reply, the court asked the government to ensure that all encroachments were removed by March 29. If not, the government would pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh per day.

Though the encroaching Ramjanam Nagar slum was removed, social outfit Jan Kalyan Morcha pointed out that the stretch of Marine Drive to which the toll bridge would be linked, was still occupied.

The petitioner even produced an affidavit submitted to the high court on August 12, 2010, by the state industry department, in which the department said large-scale encroachment on Marine Drive was hindering the project.

The court directed the social outfit to record visual footage on a CD to show the actual work done by the government and Adityapur Toll Bridge Construction Limited on the next hearing. The case will be taken up on April 18.

The first bridge on Kharkai was built in 1963, which is unfit for movement of heavy vehicles. A PIL in March 2003 was filed for construction of a second bridge. The state then had made a lofty claim to construct a one-of-its-kind toll bridge in two years.

In an undertaking before Jharkhand High Court in January 2006, it promised to finish construction by June 2008. But as work was not completed, a contempt application was filed before the court.

The court today also heard another PIL for construction of the Adityapur-Kandra Road and directed the government to come up with a policy for collection of toll tax.

The counsel for the government told the court that such a policy had been framed, but could not produce a copy, earning a rap from the bench. This case will also be taken up on April 18.

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