The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) on Monday demolished at least 20 properties at Umra village in Surat city to clear the way for an approach road to the Paal-Umra bridge on Tapi river.
The civic body had started construction of the fifth bridge over Tapi river in 2015 to connect the Umra area with Paal. Officials said 90 per cent construction of the bridge had been completed but for the approach area, where the 20 properties stood.
“We have carried out demolition on 20 properties which were an obstacle to the construction of the approach road to Paal-Umra bridge. We have cleared an area of 13,450 square feet and will soon start work on the approach road, which will be completed in the next couple of months. Once the bridge is ready, over 10 lakh people will be benefited,” Surat Municipal commissioner B N PAni said.
He added alternate land will be allocated to the 20 property holders.
On Monday, more than a hundred SMC officials, including encroachment removal teams equipped with dumpers and demolition staff reached the spot. Several policemen were also deployed in the area after some residents tried to stall the drive, civic officials said.
According to SMC officials, last year the 20 property holders had approached the Gujarat High Court after they were asked to vacate the land. The court had agreed to mediate in the issue.
The SMC had then agreed to allocate alternate land to the
20 property holders in the same area at Umra village and also construct the new houses and make them ready for use for the beneficiaries. The civic body had also agreed to pay for the rented accommodations of the beneficiaries till the construction of the new property was completed.
While eight property holders had accepted the SMC’s proposal, 12 of them had objected to it. On November 5, SMC had issued notices to these 12 property holders to vacate the land in seven days.