Residents upset over delay in laying service lanes along Thanjavur highway

Residents living along the city-stretch of the Tiruchi-Thanjavur National Highway have grown restive over the delay in the issue of final land acquisition notification for laying service lanes along the highway.

The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways last year issued a public notification, declaring its intention to acquire land for laying service lanes for a distance of nearly 15 km from Ariyamangalam to Thuvakudi. The State government too issued an order in August 2011 sanctioning Rs. 84.5 crore to be given towards compensation for the land to be acquired for the service lanes along the highway.

The announcement brought much cheer to the residents, who had been waging a battle for over five-years seeking service lanes along the stretch of the highway. But residents fear that their happiness could prove to be short-lived as the final notification for the land acquisition is yet to be issued by the National Highways Authority of India.

“We were very happy when the 3(A) notification was issued by the NHAI declaring its intention to acquire lands for the service lanes. But now we understand that the final 3(D) notification, a final declaration of the acquisition, under the National Highways Act is being held up as the authority is reportedly yet to get the funds sanctioned by the State government.

The 3 (D)(1) notification has to be issued before within a year of the 3(A) notification, failing which the entire process of calling for objections have to be done once again,” said S. Sakthivel and M. Shanmugam, organisers of the Federation for Retrieval of Tiruchi-Palpannai-Thuvakudi Service Roads, an umbrella organisation of residents associations, formed to fight for the cause.

The federation had previously conducted a series of agitations demanding the construction of the service lanes on the 14.5-km stretch since 2009-10 as the NHAI took up the project to four-lane the Tiruchi-Thanjavur National Highway (NH-67).

Although the NHAI had made provisions for laying the service lanes, an earlier proposal for land acquisition was dropped owing to stiff oppositionfrom local traders who feared displacement. The residents alleged that accidents have become frequent in the absence of service lanes.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, the federation representatives feared that unless the 3(D) (1) notification was issued before May 23, the process of land acquisition has to begun afresh.

Representations seeking the early release of the funds and the issue of the notification have been sent to the State Highways Department and the NHAI. People should not be made to suffer owing to administrative delays, they said and appealed to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to intervene in the matter and ensure that the funds were released soon paving the way for the project. laying of the service lanes.