July 9, 2019
Kochi: The CPM-led LDF has succumbed to the demands of the Union Government to develop 600 kms of National Highways in the state even as the National Highways Action Committee has threatened to oppose illegal eviction.
The state has agreed to spend Rs 6000 crore for the project of the total Rs 44,000 crore.
The Rs 6000 crore will be accounted through the state foregoing its share of about Rs 3000 crore on the GST income on construction materials. About Rs 1000 crore will be taken from the special fund of the PWD. Twenty per cent of the project funds allotted to main departments will be cut short and taken for this.
The centre had downgraded Kerala’s national highway developments priority in May this year due to communication gap on some issues with Kerala seeking more remuneration for land acquisition citing, scarcity of land due to high density of population.
As National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) decided to apply temporary brakes on the project, the state sprung into action by chief minister approaching the centre to accommodate the state in the development programme.
As the centre agreed to the request, a Kerala team led by chief minister inked the agreement in the national capital a few days ago.
PWD minister G sudhakaran has directed district collectors to commence the works for preparation of detailed plan, land acquisition and fund allocation.
The expansion of 45-metre wide highways into four and six lanes poses big challenges like land acquisition.
The state had earlier argued that half of the estimated Rs 44,000 crore would be required for land acquisition as the land price in Kerala was four times higher compared to other states.
Speaking to The Covai Post, National Highways Action Committee Chairman C R Neelakantan said that at least 20,000 families would be displaced in the process.
The government has not come out with any transparent plan to rehabilitate the families, business establishments, schools, orphanages. The government has not even notified the remuneration for the people.
He said the committee was with the people and it would oppose any illegal and inhuman approach in this regard.
Flaying CPM led government showing undue haste in this regard, he asked why the CPM was opposing Salem- Chennai super highway and GAIL projects in Tamil Nadu.