Attingal bypass: Highways body to move SC to vacate stay order 

Acquiring land belonging to Thiruvaratukavu Devi temple is the lone hurdle remaining

Published: 18th April 2022 05:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th April 2022 05:13 AM   |  A+A-

NH national highway, NHAI

Image used for representational purposes only. (Express Illustrations)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  With the land acquisition for constructing the Attingal bypass as part of the development of Kazhakootam-Paripally NH 66 stretch remaining a hurdle owing to the stay order secured by authorities of Thiruvaratukavu Devi temple, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) plans to approach Supreme Court to vacate the stay order.

Earlier, the High Court had dismissed the review petition filed by the NHAI seeking to vacate the stay order. Even though 99% of the land has been acquired for the entire stretch, only one per cent of land, which is 44 cents, belongs to the temple. 

According to NHAI, the compound wall of the temple only needs to be demolished for the purpose and it will not touch the temple. The six-lane widening of the 29-km stretch is likely to begin from June or July. The contract for the development of the stretch was awarded to RDS projects Limited at a cost of Rs 790 crore. 

P Pradeep, project director, NHAI said efforts are on to vacate the stay order. “We are planning to approach the Supreme Court to vacate the stay order. Though we had filed a review petition earlier, it was rejected. So the legal battle will continue and if it fails again, a dialogue with the temple and Travancore Royal family needs to be held. The Travancore Royal family has a key role in the temple. So if they allow, we can acquire 44 cents of land by not touching the temple, “ he said. 

The NHAI expects to start the development of the road by June or July as a few proceedings are remaining with the contractor. However, it will be tough for the contractor as the South West monsoon will start by that time. The agreement with the contractor is yet to be signed as the contractor needs to submit the performance bank guarantee. Then, the NHAI will handover the land to the company and an appointment date will be sent to them for starting the construction. 

Meanwhile, the demolition of buildings began at certain areas at Kaniyapuram, Mamom and at Kallambalam. Currently, the land owners themselves are razing down the buildings paving way for road widening. 

Acquiring 44 cents belonging to the temple, which is essential for the construction of the 12-km-long Attingal bypass, is the lone remaining hurdle for the implementation of the project. The Kazhakkoottam-Parippally stretch is slated to be widened to 45m to facilitate the six-lane traffic. There will be service roads on either side and road safety measures will be put in place, as mandated by the Indian Road Congress. 

Once the road is widened, the travel time from Kollam to Thiruvananthapuram, which normally takes 90 to 105 minutes during peak hours, will be reduced by 20 to 30 minutes. The NHAI had called the e-tender on October 25, 2021. The last date to submit technical and financial bids was December 9, which was later extended to January 18. The Kazhakkoottam-Parippally project has been conceived so that the NH deviates from Mamom Junction to a bypass road. From there, long-distance travellers need not touch Attingal town, a major traffic bottleneck. They will rejoin main road at Ayamkonam near Kallambalam.

Only 1% of land belongs to temple
Earlier, the High Court had dismissed the review petition filed by the NHAI seeking to vacate the stay order. Even though 99% of the land has been acquired for the entire stretch, only one per cent of land, which is 44 cents, belongs to the temple. 



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