Nellore: After a decade long delay, land acquisition for the conversion of existing National Highway between Naidupeta to Puthalpattu into a 6-lane highway, is in progress now. The two-lane road connects coastal Andhra Pradesh districts to the famous temple town, Tirupati. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s Chttoor district is notorious for fatal accidents. Highway authorities have identified as many as 17 black spots in a stretch of 50 km on the existing road with scores of curves.
The situation is such that not a day passes without any accident and there were more than 70 deaths in around 150 major accidents on the highway between Nayudupeta and Srikalahasthi, falling under Nayudupeta circle alone in the last three years. Though the previous Congress government planned to convert the road into a four-lane highway in 2009 at an estimated cost of Rs 500 crore, the proposal was delayed due to paucity for funds even as ghastly accidents became the order of the day.
Highway officials said that legal complications related to land acquisition for widening the road in 13-odd villages located on the road was also one of the reasons for the delay in the expansion of the road in the past. Although most of the land acquisition issues have been sorted out now, substantial compensation being offered as per the new Land Acquisition Act is troubling revenue officials even now.
One of them is demands from residents of some villages seeking compensation for the structures, though the land is not in their name. Another issue is compensation being sought for land and structures, as per commercial value though the land is not converted from agriculture to non-agriculture. Revenue officials have identified around 270 acre of land for acquisition and around 200 structures for demolition either partly or totally for road expansion to make it into a 6-lane highway after the recent survey. The problem now is that the residents have been demanding compensation for the entire structure whether they are losing either minor or a major part of the building.
Nellore district joint collector A. Md. Imtiaz, who has been paying special attention to the land acquisition for the highway, was confident of completing the task shortly, while maintaining that the hitches are minor in nature. He said that there are no legal issues because the compensation is hefty as per the new Act and they have to take a decision on the issue of compensation for small structures on encroached lands or take alternative measures on humanitarian grounds. Highway officials said that 50 per cent of the land acquisition is completed between Puthalapattu and Srikalahasthi in Chittoor district and the balance is in progress.