Nation Current Affairs 01 Mar 2016 Union Budget 2016: N ...

Union Budget 2016: Need to focus on highways

Published Mar 1, 2016, 6:43 am IST
Updated Mar 1, 2016, 6:43 am IST
Representational image
 Representational image

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala is unlikely to benefit from the huge outlay announced by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget for national highway development. He has set apart Rs 97,000 crore for the  road sector, including the Prime Minister’s Gramin Sadak Yojana. He has also targeted  10, 000 km of NH and upgradation of 50, 000 km of state highways in 2016-17. But in Kerala, NH development has been held up due to the difficulties in land acquisition.   

Out of 1,300 hectares of land required in the last three decades, so far only eight hectares has  been acquired. The state government had  set up a high-power committee on  August 4  last year in the presence of Union Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi. But so far it has met only twice. A senior PWD official told DC that the committee was non-functional as land acquisition had  come to a standstill.

“Once the land is acquired,  the central government will hand it over to a construction company  based in Hyderabad as per tender norms. Though the government wanted to bring out a national toll policy, it is yet to work out. In a state like Kerala, it is more difficult to acquire land than build  a road,”  he said.

The land on the sides of the NH fetches  several crores to the land owner.  The PWD is firm on developing NH to 45-metre width despite opposition to land acquisition.

Currently, on the  Ernakulam– Thiruvananthapuram stretch,  only 30 metres  have been acquired. But the National Highway Authority of India is developing 45 metres width on Kazhakoottam–Mukkola and Aluva – Paliyekkara – Tamil Nadu border stretches.  In some areas from Paliyekkara–Tamil Nadu stretch, 60 metres are  also being developed.   

Location: India, Kerala


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