‘Mechanism evolved to seek support of State governments’
Union Minister for Surface Transport Oscar Fernandes has said that problems related to land acquisition were delaying road widening in some States.
The State Support Agreement (SSA) was a mechanism evolved by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to seek the support of State governments in land acquisition and to maintain law and order during road widening.Not signed
The governments of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and, Uttar Pradesh have not signed the pact with the NHAI due to which there was delay in completion of road widening projects there, he told a press conference here on Sunday.High price
Mr. Fernandes said that the high property price prevailing in States such as Kerala was also among the causes for the delay in road widening and upgrading work. Cooperation from State governments is necessary in such circumstances for completion of workexpeditiously, he said.Agumbe Ghat
He said that it has been planned to widen an 8.2-km stretch on the Agumbe Ghat road, which is part of State Highway 1, to bring it to the standards of a national highway to facilitate free traffic flow. A detailed project report is being prepared now. Technical and feasibility factors will be assessed while widening the road. As the road passes through dense forest, clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forest will be sought, he said.
On the selection of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections, he said that apart from the “winnability” factor, the Congress will consider social justice as the main parameter for selection. There is no doubt that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre will make all-out efforts to retain power.
The Congress will field winnable candidates in the elections. Pluralism forms the main feature of Indian society and the Congress is committed to providing political representation to all sections of society, he said.
To a query, Mr. Fernandes said that Congress leaders in Karnataka will be delighted if the party vice-president Rahul Gandhi decides to contest the Lok Sabha elections here. The party has decided to announce its list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections soon, he said.
Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education Kimmane Ratnakar and Shimoga MLA K.B. Prasanna Kumar were present.