Land was acquired from people living along NH 17 in 2005 for widening the road to 30 metres. But the authorities are trying to acquire more land from them for widening the road to 45 metres.

The combine of people facing eviction for four-laning of National Highways 17 and NH 47 under the banner National Highway Protection Council submitted a memorandum to Union Minister for Transport, Road and Highways Oscar Fernandes on Sunday highlighting their grievances and suggesting solutions to the impasse over widening of national highways in the State.

Convenor of the Council Hashim Chennampilly appealed to the Minister that the same set of people should not be subjected to land acquisition two times. He was referring to the instance in which land from people living on the sides of NH 17 were acquired in 2005 for widening the road to 30 metres. However, the work has not been taken up yet but the authorities are trying to acquire more land for widening the road to 45 metres.

He told The Hindu on Sunday that the people wanted the government to build the 30-metre, four-lane road first before going in for further expansion. He claimed that around 2,000 families were affected by the initial move and around 800 families from among them have resettled and rehabilitated themselves on what was left of their small holdings on the sides of NH 17 after land was acquired for widening NH 17 to 30 metres.

The memorandum also said that using force to evict thousands of people would only turn into a social disaster. The Council also claimed that the toll collected at Paliakkara, near Thrissur for the Edappally-Mannuthy stretch of NH 47 was too high.

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