Udhampur, 31-03-2023: The residents of Cherri-Swail, Kawa, Baryal, Kashirah villages residing in the vicinity of Railway Station Udhampur alongwith dozens of activists of Panthers Party led by Mr. Harsh Dev Singh, Former Minister and senior JKNPP leader, held a massive protest outside the Civil Engineering Wing of the Railways Deptt Udhampur against the denial of ‘right of way’ to hundreds of households of the area. The protesters carrying placards raised slogans against Railway Officers and AEN alleging undue harassment and restrictions on their movement by the said officers and sought initiation of criminal proceedings against the said functionaries of the Deptt. They raised slogans of “Railway Deptt Udhampur Hai Hai”, “AEN Railways Murdabad”, “ADRM Railways Murdabad”, “Logon ka rasta rokne wale officers ko Giraftaar karo” etc.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh said that the Railway Deptt Udhampur had constructed a wall on the entry point of Cherri-Swail road constructed by PMGSY thereby restraining the people of around 4 villages from using the said road. He said that on intervention of the local District administration the Railway Deptt sought a compensation of Rs. 77000/- as structure and lease amount for allowing the public to use the said road. The said compensation amount was duly paid by PMGSY Deptt to Railway Deptt on 2nd January, 2023 and the public started using the said road. It was shocking however, that the Railway Deptt, had once again put its barricades thereby disallowing the inhabitants of the area to use the said entrance. On enquiry the Railway Deptt Officers of Udhampur are taking the plea that their Head Office at Ferozpur had not issued any instructions since January regarding the opening of the road for the locals, lamented Mr. Singh. If the compensation amount had been received by the Railway Deptt, the obstruction of the ‘right of way’ of the locals amounted to a criminal offence for which the concerned officers needed to be booked under the relevant laws, said Mr. Singh.
Mr. Singh said that the matter has been discussed dozens of times with the Railway authorities Udhampur and other offices who too have endorsed the public view of removing the un-wanted and un-warranted impediments from the entry point of the said road so that it could be used by the public and serve the intended benefit to the locals. He said that the raising of the wall in the said area without any justification and without any requirement defies logic and rationale and seems to have been raised only to swindle the public money. It is a glaring example of abuse of tax-payers money and defrauding of public exchequer for which we reserve our right to agitate at the other appropriate forums as well, observed the NPP leader.
After the protest dharna, the residents of affected villages went in a procession to Police Station Udhampur and lodged an FIR against the concerned Officers of the Railway Deptt for wrongful restraint, undue provocation for Rioting, Public nuisance and for threatening and intimidating the locals of the area.