Opposition by some local people to the shifting of a religious structure at Brahmarakutlu near B.C. Road has come in the way of the four-lane project on National Highway 48.

Sources in the National Highways Authority of India told The Hindu that the structure measured 10 m x 10 m. While the district administration has not shifted it to another place citing opposition from the local people, the NHAI maintains that it cannot widen a 700-m stretch till the structure is shifted.

“Unless the structure is shifted, the NHAI is constrained to leave the stretch as it is,” an official said. The NHAI was supposed to construct two minor bridges and a toll plaza on this 700-m stretch.

The NHAI is not in favour of a proposal given by the district administration to change the alignment and build two lanes each on either side of the structure. The administration wants to retain the structure on a wider median.

The NHAI, however, contends that such a change would render the stretch a potential accident zone, besides entailing an additional cost of over Rs. 71 lakh, the sources said.

The NHAI wants the structure to be shifted to another place from the technical, operational, functional, contractual, safety and legal points of view, the source added.

They said that failure to remove the religious structures from public spaces was not in keeping with some recent directions of the Supreme Court. The court has asked the States to frame a policy in this regard. District in-charge Minister J. Krishna Plaemar told The Hindu that it was not proper to change the alignment of the highway at a particular stretch.

“I do not agree with the proposal to change the alignment. The work should be carried out as planned originally,” he said.

The Minister said that the State Government would cooperate with the NHAI to complete the work. “We will make all efforts to ensure that the issue is resolved.” However, the Minister declined to set a time-frame for the purpose.

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