National Highway Authority of India's (NHAI) recent notification to acquire land for 5km stretch of Dwarka Expressway, also known as the Northern Peripheral Road (NPR) has brought some cheer for the homebuyers who have invested in homes coming up in this region. But their happiness was short-lived, as the issue of relocating around 350 project affected families whose homes fall on Gurgaon side of the Expressway still remains unresolved.
Ram Bahadur Sharma, a 75 year old retired government employee, is all shaken up as there is a lot of uncertainty about when and where he will be asked to go and start life afresh at this age.
"I bought this plot of land, built this house with my retirement money. Today I am in such a condition that if you remove me from here then I will be nowhere. At this age, I do not know what I will do," Sharma said in a feeble, shaky voice. The septuagenarian is among the 350 project affected people whose house fall in the way of the Expressway.
All the project affected families were to be rehabilitated by allotting alternative plots in Sectors 110A and 37C following a Punjab and Haryana High Court direction. But even after two years of the ruling, families here are unclear about their future.
"As per the final terms of settlement (FTS) of 2015 following an order of the Punjab & Haryana High Court, all petitioners were to be rehabilitated as per their plot size and ground coverage area and we were to be compensated at market rate. This was to be done within 6-9 months of the Court order of 2015. What HUDA is doing is they are not respecting the FTS," an agitated Sharma said.
"They are saying that only those who have properties registered in their name will be relocated or compensated, those with GPA,SPA will get nothing. In some cases they are citing the R&R policy of 2010 for linear projects and saying that all those with vacant plots will not be given alternate plots. Our point is when the Court gave its seal of approval for the FTS it had mentioned that ours is a special case and therefore, all will be compensated. Why is HUDA not complying with this?" asks 40 year old Kiran Kandpal, a heart patient who is being forced to run from one lawyer to other and from one official to another in HUDA as her house too is on the way of the Expressway.
"We have filed a case of contempt against HUDA. The case will come up for hearing on July 25," Kandpal added.
Explaining what HUDA has done so far and where things stand now, Yashpal Yadav, Administrator HUDA said,
"We have allotted plots to those landowners who have residential structures and as per the Court orders we have to give them 6 months time to shift to the new location. So we issued allotment letters in March to one cluster and in April to another cluster. So by August-September we should get this land and we will start construction work.One major issue that remains to be resolved is baout the people who own property on the basis of GPA. They do not have conveyance deed so the court has stayed allotment of plots to the GPA holders as its against law. That issue is pending and it is coming up on July 25 this year. We are going to request to the court to allow us to settle this issue. But this will not come in the way of completing the road. Construction will start by August and Haryana side of the road will be completed by year end."
However, locals of the area do not share the same optimism. According to Rishi Raj Rana, Councilor, Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon, given the ground situation, it might take as much as two years for the work to start on the 3.5km stretch that has been stuck for almost 10 years now.
Of the total 27km, 18km of the Expressway falls in Gurgaon and 7km is in Delhi. Of the 18km, 3.5km has been stuck over rehabilitation issues.
The Dwarka Expressway was launched in 2007. The Haryana and Delhi governments were supposed to jointly construct the expressway which is proposed to be 16-lane. But even 10 years later, there has been very little progress on the Haryana side. On the Delhi side, NHAI has already issued the notification to acquire land for about 5km stretch in Delhi and complete the expressway on Delhi side. There are around 60 housing projects that are coming up in this region which includes top developers like, Mahindra Lifespaces, Sobha Ltd, Puri Constructions, ATS, Chintels.