Nalin Kumar Kateel, MP, has said that he would convene meetings of officials for every 20 days to address the issues pertaining to shifting of electricity and water pipelines, and land acquisition, and review the progress of four-lane project between Surathkal and B.C. Road.
Mr. Kateel told The Hindu on Thursday that he had convened a review meeting at the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on Tuesday. Issues pertaining to shifting of electrical lines and poles by Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (Mescom) Ltd, shifting of water supply pipelines by Mangalore City Corporation (MCC), and that of religious structures by the district administration, were delaying the project, he said.
Officials from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), IRCON International Ltd, the contract agency for the project, MCC, Mescom, and Deputy Commissioner V. Ponnuraj took part in the meeting, he said.
Mr. Kateel said that the departments concerned had been asked to submit their progress reports to the Deputy Commissioner every fortnight. Later, he would review the efforts made by MCC, Mescom, and the district administration, to resolve the issues.
To a question the MP said that he would himself attend to the problem related to the shifting of a religious structure at Kuloor and hasten its process.
However, the project would be completed by December, he added.
The MP said that when he had raised a question about the project in the last Parliament session, he had been told by the Minister concerned that the completion the 37.5-km road had been delayed by issues related to the State Government.
Meanwhile, official sources told The Hindu that even after five high-level meetings held in Bangalore since July 7, 2008, the State Government machinery here was slow in resolving the issues.
Sources said that the NHAI officials had maintained that they would complete the work wherever land had been made available to them till December-end. The NHAI would be left with no option but to fore-close the contract of the project after December.
A copy of the proceedings of a meeting, chaired by the Chief Minister on July 7, 2008, said: “…Instructions were given to the Principal Secretary, Revenue, Deputy Commissioner, Mangalore, and the Endowment Commissioner, to expedite arbitration, disbursement of compensation, shifting of water supply line, and temples at Kulur and Brahmarakotlu.”
The State Chief Secretary, and Secretary, Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, who is also the chairman of the NHAI, met in Bangalore on December 27, 2008, to review the progress of various highway projects. In the copy of its proceedings it was stated: “The Chief Secretary directed the Dakshina Kannada district administration to resolve issues pertaining to shifting of temples within (before) January, 2009.” It said that a representative of the Deputy Commissioner had promised to disburse the compensation amount to the property-losers by January 15, 2009.
Sources said that the city corporation was yet to shift the water pipelines on different stretches totalling to 10 km on national highways 17, 48 and 13. Of the Rs. 20.52-crore compensation amount meant to be disbursed in 15 villages, the State Government had disbursed only Rs. 13.13 crore. Of the Rs. 41.4-lakh ex-gratia to be paid to land-losers, only Rs. 25.12 lakh had been paid.
The Mescom was yet to shift its 33-kV underground power cable laid between Nanthoor and Kulashekara Junction.
In addition, Mescom was yet to shift its cables on the stretch between Karavali College and Kottara, the sources said.