KOZHIKODE: The widening of the Wayanad Ghat road will be delayed further as the Union ministry for forest and environment is yet to give the green signal to the project submitted by the Public Works Department (PWD, national highways). It is to be recalled that narrow stretches in the Wayanad Ghat Road have been causing recurring traffic jams, particularly on the curves, for the last several months.
Even after a brainstorming session on the development of the Ghat Road held at Kozhikode Collectorate on October 13, serious efforts are yet to be made. The traffic through the Ghat stretch of National Highway 766 (formerly NH 212) has been blocked often as the bends were washed off during a heavy rain in September. PWD executive engineer, national highways Vinayaraj K told DC that the widening of three hairpin bends 6, 7 and 8 would be delayed as it needed the clearance of the union ministry of forests.
“We are already widening hairpin bends 3rd and 5th. Without sufficient forest land the other three bends could not be widened”, he said. “Even if we get permission from the forest department widening of the bends needs serious and in-depth technical investigation which would cause a delay”, he added. The total project cost is Rs 19.75 crore whereas the ongoing widening of the 3rd and 5th bends cost Rs 2 crore. “We have been trying to get permission from the union forest ministry for the last five years”, he added.
However the state forest department’s stand is that they have done whatever they could to ensure clearance for the forest land. “The clearance should come from the zonal office of the Union Ministry of forests at Bengaluru”, he added. “For the last several weeks, the file is pending at the zonal office”, he added.