THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran said the delay in land acquisition has hit the mega projects of coastal highway and hill highway. The work of 12 reaches in the hill highway is yet to take off due to the denial of permission from the Forest department while the fishermen refused to part their land for road development.“The forest department did not give permission for construction even after the cabinet approved the alignment,” said the minister.
He hinted at changing the alignment of hill highway to avoid the locations where permissions were denied. Out of the 40 reaches in the project seven reaches did not have the 12-metre width required. The work of 21 reaches has started at Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kannur and Kasaragod. According to the minister, more discussions needed to be done to convince the fishermen to give their land for highway development.
“The fishermen are not keen to part with their land despite the attractive compensation offered. It may be because they do not have much land,” said Sudhakaran. He said the 650-kilometre coastal road is being developed at an approximate cost of `6,500 crore. Both the projects would cost `10,000 crore.
Citing lapses from the contractors, the PWD minister said he had demanded the cancellation of contract awarded to carry out Kuthiran tunnel in Thrissur, Kozhikode bypass and Paliyekara toll. “The state government is extremely unhappy with the delay by contractors hired by the National Highways Authority of India.
I’ve written to Minister for Road Transport and Highways to scrap the contract,” said Sudhakaran. He blamed the delay by central agencies in development of national highway and Alappuzha bypass. The statehas decided to utilise the expertise of defence engineers for rebuilding Shanghumugham road destroyed in sea erosion. The department will rebuild the 240-m road.