THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The four-laning of the 587.61 km stretch out of the total 610 km of NH 66 from Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram will be speeded up. A high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday finalised nine road packages and their timeframe for the purpose. Top officials of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) , PWD and revenue department attended the meeting. DC had earlier reported that the development from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram (Thalappady - Chengala - Kazhakkoottam - Mukkola - Karode) with a total length of 610 km would require Rs 26,000 crore which will be borne by the NHAI. This will be used for land acquisition and NH development.
The central norm is that any work which requires more than Rs 1000 crore has to get the sanction of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). However, Mr Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road, Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had asked the NHAI officials in the state to break up the 610 km into various stretches so that his ministry can sanction the amount without delay. Accordingly, NHAI officials proposed nine stretches: Thalappady - Kalikadavu (83.9 km), Kalikadavu - Chokli (82.7 km), Chokli - Ramanattukara (73.65 km), Ramanattukara - Andathode (85.86 km), Andathode - Moothakunnam (60 km), Moothakunnam - Edapally (29.6 km), Cherthala - Oachira (81.6 km), Oachira - Kadampattukonam (56.3 km) and Kadampattukonam - Kazhakkoottam (34 km).
"We need 2,629 hectares and we have already acquired 1,468 hectares in the stretch. The chief minister decided to break the project into nine packages and a timeframe has also been finalized," said a top government official. The NHAI and PWD officials have to take up the work on a war-footing. NHAI chairman Deepak Kumar will initiate 3A notification (power to acquire land) and tenders would be floated for the work. Subsequently, 3D notification (declaration of acquisition), 3G (determination of amount payable as compensation) and 3H (deposit and payment of amount) will also be initiated step by step. Tenders have been finalized for the stretch between Thalappady - Kalikadavu which is pending before the MoRTH officials.