BENGALURU: Those hopeful of driving between Bengaluru and Mysuru in just about 90 minutes will have to wait longer. With the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) upgrading the road to a national highway, the travel time is expected to reduce from the present three hours to a mere 90 minutes. However, delay in land acquisition is obstructing the project from seeing the light of day.
In March 2014, the Union Ministry of Surface Transport had announced that some roads across the country will be upgraded to national highways, of which Bengaluru-Mysuru was one. NHAI is converting the Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway (NH 275) into a 10-lane one, including a six-lane expressway.
The 117km highway is from NICE entrance in Bengaluru to the ring road junction (near Columbia Asia Hospital) in Mysuru. The estimated cost of this upgrade is around `4,100 crore. The project will also have bypasses at Bidadi, Ramanagara, Channapatna, Maddur, Mandya and Srirangapatna, before reaching Mysuru.After delays in the initial process, NHAI called for tender in December 2016, but it was cancelled due to technical reasons.
A few months ago, they called bidders to develop the stretch. NHAI is expecting many bidders. Under this proposal, the Government of India will fund 40 per cent of the project cost (`1,640 crore), and the remaining will be paid by the bidder (`2,460 crore).Of the `2,460 crore, the bidder will take 70 per cent loan from banks, which will be repaid by the Government of India in 30 instalments.
The authorities need 1,300 acres to expand the existing four lanes to 10, but there are delays in doing this.
“We need to procure lands and hand those over to the bidder. We have not finalised the bidder. But before finalising, we need to acquire the land, which is not happening anytime soon,’’ a senior NHAI official told Express.
According to the official, land acquisition might take at least another eight months. “Once we acquire land, the project will take two years. Many such projects will take more time than estimated. The 10-lane Bengaluru-Mysuru road will not be ready anytime before 2021,” he said.PWD Principal Secretary M Lakshminarayana said the work will be done by NHAI. “The state has no hold. We do not know when the work will start,” he said. He, however, said that the road will be tolled.