Saturday, September 1, 2007

Road to border ‘encroached’ :Akali Leader’s Project Comes In Way; Army To Prob

Times of India : 30th August, 2007 : Chandigarh Edition
Chandigarh: It seems to be testing time for the Akali leader Sandeep Singh Galotra as his Silver City project in Fazilka has come under Army’s scanner, for grabbing the land meant for road connecting the Maujam international border. Sources in Army told TOI that the road, which connects Fazilka with Maujam border, is taken over by Galotra and it has been alleged that the local authorities have changed the path, and made the road turn along with the boundary of his 21-acre piece of land, instead of going according to the plan.
The changes in the original plan — the maps and satellite images of which are in possession of TOI — has made it difficult for the tanks and other Army vehicles to take such sharp turns in one go. Maujam border is strategically important for the Indian Army, as this front was lost to Pakistani in 1965 war. “In an extreme situation, it would be hard for the ammunition support the reach the destination,” sources said. According to the Army plan, they wanted almost straight road from Fazilka to Maujam. They had to cross a Badha Cannal by constructing new bridge, but the old bridge was widened. “Instead of going into the plot, it seems that the favour was given to the coloniser,” sources said. In fact, the coloniser has placed a big gate where the road touches the plot and takes the unwanted turn.
“We have received a complaint recently, and this is a serious matter, we cannot let it go like this,” said a senior Army officer, on condition of anonymity. He confirmed that the investigation was on. Known as the freedom fighter road, on which this project is placed, is 7 km away from the border. “We cannot change the project even an inch, be it anyone,” said the officer. However, when contacted, Galotra said he would welcome the investigation. “We have not encroached upon any road,” he asserted. He added that he was planning to approach the chief minister to ask the authorities to make the road pass from his plot. “I agree that this road is important and will apprise the CM of its importance. I have even suspended my silver city project and is working to convert it into a farm.”

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