Mohali-phagwara highway move opposed
Jalandhar February 20:
Questioning the need of second highway from Mohali to Phagwara via Machhiwara and Nawanshahr areas, the Congress said today the project would be sheer waste of money and lead to the displacement of thousands of farmers.
As the notice to acquire land for the highway has been issued, farmers at some places near Phagwara protested against it and met Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in this regard. Senior Congress leader Umrao Singh said: “Second highway is not needed when one exists between Mohali and Phagwara through Ropar . The one through Nawanshahr and Banga can be improved by adding more lanes to it.”
He asked: “Why people of Doaba be made to pay for travelling on roads that lead to their area from Chandigarh or Mohali?” He said people travelling on existing highway from Mohali via Ropar, Nawanshahr to Jalandhar had to pay toll at Kurali, Kathgarh (near Balachaur) and Behram (near Phagwara) and those travelling to Hoshiarpur from Mohali had to pay toll at Majari, Nangal Shaheedan besides Kurali and Kathgarh. They had to pay toll at Mangarh for further travelling to Dasuya from Hoshiarpur and at Adda Lachowal for travelling to Tanda from Hoshiapur.
He said for travel on new express highway from Mohali to Phagwara via Machhiwara area, people would also have to pay toll as it was to be built by private parties. “Instead of constructing another highway, people of Doaba should be provided with free way by exempting them from toll charged on the existing highway”, said Umrao Singh.
Congress leader from Doaba Sukhpal Singh Khaira said instead of providing basic facilities and social services like quality education, health care, safe drinking water and power supply, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal was talking of building express highways. If Sukhbir Badal had any “compulsion” to construct the express highway, he should get it constructed as elevated highway over the existing one to avoid displacement of thousands of farmers and villagers, Khaira added.
Khaira said one could easily travel from Phagwara to Mohali on existing highway and with its widening and constructing bypasses at one or two places, travelling time on the highway could be further cut by 15 minutes.