Asia & Australia

June 14, 2018

Railways permitted to use own force for eviction drive at New Jalpaiguri station: Calcutta HC

Calcutta HC

On June 13, the Calcutta High Court permitted eviction of encroachers at New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri stations and instructed the West Bengal government to collaborate with the national transporter in the process.

The state government has been instructed to look into the task of evicting about 80 illegal shops encroaching on railway land at the two stations. The HC also asked the govt to employ a magistrate for the same purpose.

Moreover, Railway was given the authority by Justice Rajasekhar Mantha to utilize its own force for the eviction drive.

New Jalpaiguri is an important station connecting the Northeastern states with the rest of the country and is being upgraded to a 'Class A' station, but the encroachments have hindered the development of infrastructure there, Additional Solicitor General Kaushik Chanda said to the court.

HC has sought cooperation from the govt and asked it to help oversee the eviction of around 60 unauthorised vendors, including restaurants, outside the station building of the New Jalpaiguri station complex and 20 shops at Siliguri railway station.

"The whole country is suffering, every state, every city is suffering due to illegal encroachments," Justice Mantha observed while disposing of the petition filed by the Railways.

Chanda and counsel Saptarshi Roy submitted that the West Bengal government has written that its concurrence is required for removal of the encroachers and sought direction to the state for providing assistance in carrying out the eviction order.

Justice Mantha said the Railways will not require concurrence of the state government for evicting the illegal occupiers at the two stations, which are under the jurisdiction of North Frontier Railway (NFR) .

The eviction was ordered on July 5, 2016 by the high court over a petition filed by the NFR but it got no help or the needed assistance. Later, it moved the high court again in July 2017.

Justice Joymalya Bagchi, who had passed the eviction order earlier, told the state and railway authorities to form a high-power committee to oversee the modalities and execution of the eviction order.

The encroachments, by illegal shops and settlements on railway land adjacent to the tracks, hamper development of services to passengers at stations as well as punctuality of trains owing to speed restrictions, a senior railway official said.

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