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Demolition carried out for widening road leaves a trail of agony

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Infrastructure: Demolition work in progress on B.H. Road in Shimoga.
Infrastructure: Demolition work in progress on B.H. Road in Shimoga.

Special Correspondent

200 shopkeepers on B.H. Road are affected

Total loss expected to be around Rs. 100 crore

Compensation to be given for one-km stretch

Shimoga: The demolition drive undertaken on B.H. Road as a part of road-widening exercise is nearing completion. But it has left a trail of agony. On the three-km long stretch of the road from the Tunga Bridge to the Bus Stand at the Ashok Circle, about 200 shops have been either partially or fully demolished. Besides this, structures on encroached area have been brought down.

Not only has it affected businessmen but also scores of workers in the unorganised sector who have been rendered jobless all of a sudden. While the total loss this drive has caused has not yet been estimated, it is feared to be approximately Rs. 100 crore. Though there was unanimity on the fact that the road needed to be widened, the way the administration has dealt with the issues related to it has irked the persons affected.

Businessmen allege that they have not been given compensation amount, some of them say they had not been served written notices before their shops were demolished.

Sources say all occupants of private buildings on B.H. Road that have been demolished fully or partially are not financially very sound.

Minister for Energy and MLA K.S. Eshwarappa had announced at a press conference here that a meeting would be held in Bangalore on October 16 to sort out the problems arising out of the demolition. But, recently when Mr. Yeddyurappa was in Shikaripura, he told presspersons that he did not have any knowledge about the meeting being convened. These contradictory statements have only increased the confusion among traders.

It was during the regime of JD (S)-BJP coalition government that the idea of widening B.H. Road was first mooted but the work never took off . Later, it was decided to widen the road on either side by 10 mt . Some of them even made the needed changes to their structures on their own. But the subsequent decision by the present BJP government to widen the road on either side by 13 mt has put them in a quandary. Mr. Eshwarappa was not reportedly in favour of it.

Meanwhile, what has caused further disappointment is that the district administration has said that 12 mt on either side of the road is very much a part of the road and the compensation would be calculated only for one-meter stretch .

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