An all-party meeting, convened by Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan here on Monday, approved the proposal for widening of the portion of National Highways 66 (formerly NH 47 and NH 17) passing through the State to 45 metres and a rehabilitation package for the evictees.

Discussions will be held with the Centre regarding funding for the rehabilitation package. The Centre had earlier agreed to provide compensation for acquired land as per market rates determined by the State government, but had declined to fund the rehabilitation package for affected people who are not owners of the land.

The Chief Minister told the media after the meeting that the decision of the meeting was unanimous. The State Cabinet would discuss and decide on the rehabilitation package. The government would also hold discussions with the Union Minister for Surfaced Transport on the package.

Minister for Public Works M. Vijayakumar said that the rehabilitation package proposed payment of ten per cent of the market price of land to those occupying the premises on lease or rent. Besides, they would be given Rs. 2 lakh each. Workers retrenched by them would be given compensation under the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act. Persons occupying puramboke land on the sides of the highways would be given Rs. 1 lakh each upon their eviction.

The Minister said that the Centre would request the Centre to reconsider its refusal to fund the rehabilitation package while the State Cabinet would discuss how far the State could meet the costs for rehabilitation, if Centre is adamant.

He said that there were discrepancies in the re-alignments proposed as part of the proposal for development of the highways. The implementing agency-National Highways Authority of India, would be requested to consider complaints in that respect.