Centre’s stand on fund sharing for ORR likely to be known this week

Sources said that the Centre is likely to take over the project and spend the entire amount needed for the construction of the ORR.

Published: 15th September 2023 08:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th September 2023 08:22 AM   |  A+A-

File photo of an Outer Ring Road. (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The decision on the fund sharing between the state and the Union governments in connection with the development of the proposed Outer Ring Road (NH 866) in the capital is likely to be taken this week, as the reply from the Centre on the state’s request letter in the matter is expected within two days. 

A few weeks ago, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari seeking an exemption in funding for the project due to the extreme financial crisis the state is going through. The state has also sought the Centre’s permission to make the ORR a 60m-wide highway instead of a 45m-wide stretch. 

Sources said that the Centre is likely to take over the project and spend the entire amount needed for the construction of the ORR. As part of it, all the tender proceedings initiated earlier have been withdrawn so as to start the process again in the new format. 

The Centre also asked the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to submit a report on the progress of the project.  Earlier, the state government agreed to spend 50 per cent of the funds needed for land acquisition for the project, while the Centre would give the remaining half. Later, the state requested the Centre for a lower share of 25 per cent. But now, it has reportedly told the Union government that the state is not in a position to sanction any amount for the project. 

“The state government is waiting for the Centre’s reply and it will take prompt measures based on the Union government’s decision, “ said a source close to the project.

Meanwhile, an NHAI official said that land acquisition proceedings have been halted for a while and would be resumed only after the Centre takes a decision on the issue. Earlier, the NHAI had proceeded with a 45m-wide highway with service roads.

“The NHAI is willing to go ahead with this plan. But the state wants the Centre to pay for service roads too. Even now, the state has agreed to exempt GST and royalty if the Centre grants exemption for cost sharing, “ the official said. Earlier, the ORR was proposed as a 70m-wide six-lane highway, including 25m service roads. Later, it was shortened to 45m, including service roads, which means the width of the main carriageway will be a maximum of 30m and 15m for service roads. 

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