Was National Highway expansion plan changed under political pressure?
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) had been filed with the Gujarat High Court against the land acquisition plan for the widening project of National Highway 8-D which connects Jetpur with Somnath. It was alleged in the PIL that under the earlier expansion plan land belonging to Member of Parliament from Porbandar Vitthal Radadia and a former MP from Junagarh Mohan Patel would have to be acquired. Thus, to save their lands, the plan was changed under the political pressure.
The petition relies on a reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act which states that the expansion plan was changed following some representations by the MP Vitthal Radadia and some NGOs. The PIL claims that the earlier plan was less costly and land acquisition under the changed plan might cause double loss to the state exchequer.
The High Court bench has posted the further hearing after three weeks and in the mean time has issued notices to the respondents including the NHAI, the state government and the two politicians. A bench of the Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala is going to hear the case.