ORR and Kollam-Shenkottai road projects to be delayed further

NHAI expresses hope to begin construction work of both projects before March 31
Image used for representational purposes.
Image used for representational purposes.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : As a meeting between Union Minister of Road, Transport, and Highways Nitin Gadkari and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is unlikely in the near future, the works on the proposed Outer Ring Road (ORR) and the Kollam-Shenkottai Road will be delayed further.

It was said earlier that the CM would discuss about the cost-sharing of the projects with the union minister during the inauguration of the various NH projects in the state. However, the minister carried out the inauguration via a video-conference from New Delhi last week.

Though he had invited Pinarayi to New Delhi to discuss the matter, the CM’s office has not taken a decision in this regard so far. Since the budget sessions for the state and Union governments are set to convene this month, the discussion might not materialise this month either.

Meanwhile, sources close to the ORR project said a breakthrough in the process is most likely after the submission of the detailed project report (DPR) for the Outer Area Growth Corridor (OAGC) project this month. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has said the DPR preparation is nearing completion and will be submitted to the Centre by the end of this month.

“The DPR preparation is in its final stage and it would be submitted by January-end. Once it is approved, we can move ahead. However, a decision on the cost sharing and the width of the highway should be taken by the state government,” a senior NHAI official said.

The NHAI expressed hope that the construction of the ORR and Kollam-Shenkottai NH can be started before March 31.

Centre gives utmost importance to ORR: Gadkari
During the inaugural meeting last week, Nitin Gadkari said the DPR of the OAGC project will be ready by January 2024. “We have already accepted the request of the honourable CM (for the approval of the OAGC). The project will aid the socio-economic transformation of Kerala, and ensure connectivity and development in remote areas,” Gadkari said.

Earlier, all proceedings related to the ORR project were stopped by the NHAI due to fund-sharing issues between the state and the Centre. In September 2023, the chief minister wrote a letter to Gadkari seeking an exemption in funding for the project as the state is facing a severe financial crisis.

Cost-sharing in question

  • Setback in implementation of projects due to delay in discussion on cost-sharing between state and the Centre
  • The DPR preparation of the ORR project in its final stage and will be submitted to the Centre by January-end

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