CHENNAI: Taking exception to Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari’s remarks on issues faced by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in implementing projects in Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister MK Stalin on Monday expressed “surprise” and said his government has put in its best efforts to support NHAI’s projects and helped resolve many long-pending issues.
The government gave “very high importance” to NHAI projects as it fully realises the significance of road connectivity for an industrialised State like Tamil Nadu, the CM said. Speaking at an event on Budget 2022 a few days ago, Gadkari said NHAI was facing major problems in Tamil Nadu.
“Road development projects in Tamil Nadu have hit a roadblock due to problems like sourcing aggregate material and forest clearances. I request the CM to cooperate with us,” Gadkari had said. Stalin, in his letter, said many of the issues causing delays are legacy issues. Earlier too, Gadkari had written to him and he had replied on the steps taken by his government, the CM said.
PWD min held 4 meetings with stakeholders
Stat e Minister for the Public Works Department EV Velu had conducted four meetings with stakeholder departments to resolve issues in NHAI projects as a follow-up to the CM’s review meetings. TN officials had conducted 13 meetings, and highlevel meetings on NHAI projects have been conducted every fortnight for the last six months, Stalin said.
Apart from briefing the Union minister on October 12 last year about action being taken for speedy implementation of NHAI projects, the PWD minister convened a joint meeting on December 16 last year in which the GM of NHAI from New Delhi took part.
“It was noted that about 80 per cent of NHAI issues have been resolved,” Stalin said. Specific issues with respect to the Vikravandi-Kumbakonam- Thanjavur Road and Melur-Karaikudi Road projects were resolved following the intervention of the PWD minister and chief secretary.
During the review of NHAI projects, it has come to our notice that some corrective measures have to be taken by the NHAI too, Stalin said. “The system of approval of land valuation for acquisition under the National Highways Act must be streamlined. In some cases, NHAI has not agreed to the valuation fixed by the Competent Authority for Land Acquisition (CALA) or the arbitration awards of collectors, putting the process in limbo,” Stalin said.