Encroachment hurdle hits road widening proposal

Dhubri, Feb 4 : When residents of Dhubri list the pleasures of sunbathed winters, the one that tops the list is the thrill of driving through a dry, motorable road.
Rain, even the light showers of summer, makes the Mora Gadadhar river overflow and spill on to Guru Teg Bahdur Road, making the thoroughfare impossible to negotiate.
For years, residents have rallied for the road to be widened and raised so that water from the Mora Gadadhar does not inundate it after a minor shower.
After much dilly-dallying, the Dhubri-Gouripur Development Authority has finally submitted a comprehensive project to widen and raise the 6km road, 2km of which is perennially waterlogged.
Abhijit Ghose, a resident of the area, said they had submitted several memoranda at the Dhubri deputy commissioner’s office and to minister Wazed Ali Chowdhury but nothing has been done so far.
“When the Mora Gadadhar overflows, the road goes under knee-deep water and becomes completely unmotorable for several days,” Ghose said.
The chairman of the Dhubri-Gouripur Development Authority, M. Nasiruddin Sheikh, said a road widening plan with an estimate of Rs 425,81,500 was approved in a meeting last December and duly countersigned by the executive engineer, PWD (rural road) and sent to Dispur recently.
“The project was routed through Dhubri deputy commissioner Jatindra Lahakar, who forwarded the plan and the estimate to DoNER through the Assam government on January 1, which was received by the planning department on January 12,” Sheikh said.
But the biggest obstacle for the road-widening project is encroachment.
Official sources in the Dhubri district administration said last year, a survey was conducted on encroachment on Guru Teg Bahadur Road and it revealed that most of the settlers had obtained permanent patta on their land while a few had even built pucca houses.
Under the circumstances, it would be very difficult to evict the encroachers for the road-widening project.
Besides, the issue of compensation against land acquisition has triggered a major debate.
Residents of Dhubri alleged that lack of political push has stalled several projects, one of which is the widening programme on Guru Teg Bahdur Road.