Over 2,000 families residing along the Pathankot-Jogindernagar railway line between Nurpur and Jogindernagar have been spending sleepless night following orders of the Himachal Pradesh High Court directing railway authorities to check illegal construction and submit report before September 19.The railway authorities have issued notices to such persons, treating their houses under the category of illegal construction. They have submitted a list of 2,238 illegal buildings to the HC. The final decision will be taken on September 19 when senior officers of the Railways, including the chairman of the Railway Board, would appear in court.
Information gathered revealed that most of the houses had been constructed on private land even before the rail track was laid in 1929. They were never served any notice. Even the railway authorities have earlier admitted in an affidavit filed before the court that there was no illegal construction along the Pathankot-Jogindernagar rail track except in 19 cases, in which proceedings were pending in different courts in Himachal and Ferozepur.
Twelve persons of Thakurdwara village in the outskirts of Palampur town, who had also received notices, told The Tribune that their houses were constructed 60 years ago. They said these were away from the track. That time, the railway authorities never termed their houses as illegal.
However, after the HC orders, these structures may face demolition any time. Recently, a resident of Palampur filed a PIL before the High Court, seeking action against illegal construction along national highways and rail lines. Thereafter, the court directed the railway authorities to submit the status report regarding the illegal construction or encroachment on the land belonging to the Railways between Pathankot and Jogindernagar.
The affected parties today appealed to Chief Minister Virbhadhra Singh to come for their rescue and save their houses from demolition. They said their houses were never a hurdle for the rail line.