The government is mulling alternative routes for the missing links of the Hill Highway project which has been bogged down by issues of land acquisition in the forest areas.
The 1195-km project envisages connectivity of hill regions of the state from Nandarappadavu in Kasargod to Parassala in Thiruvananthapuram.
With the UN declaring Western Ghats as a heritage site, land acquisition has been made almost impossible along the stretch, promoting the government to think of alternative routes.
The feasibility report submitted by the National Transportation, Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) in 2009 pointed out a number of missing links, of which the major portion is in the forest areas.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and PWD Minister V K Ebrahim Kunju had recently convened a meeting of 40 MLAs at the area to discuss alternative options.
“The work of Hill Highway is progressing at various places in phases.
However, there are certain missing links.
Some of the proposed routes pass through forest areas.
The meeting asked MLAs of the area to find alternative routes from individuals who are ready to surrender their land.
Land for around 600 km stretch needs to be acquired,’’ Ebrahim Kunju told Express.
The state is also waiting for environmental clearance from the Central Government.
With the heritage tag for Western Ghats, land acquisition from the forest area is facing serious hurdles.
Some of the missing links are in the forest areas of Chooralmala-Arunapuzha- Thampurattikallu on the Wayand-Malappuram border.
The proposal is to develop various sections of hill highway either as intermediate lane or two-lane depending on the current and anticipated volume of traffic, status of the road and the extent of traffic through missing links.
Apart from the land acquisition in forest area, the absence of bridges along several stretches is also a serious hurdle to the project.