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Updated: May 19, 2010 22:32 IST

National Highways: Centre may put pressure on State

Special Correspondent
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The Centre is likely to put pressure on the State government to agree to retain the stipulated 45-metre width for the development of the two national highways.

Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways R.P.N. Singh and a delegation of officials of the National Highways Authority of India are slated to hold discussion with the Chief Minister and State officials here on Thursday as a follow-up of the recent visit to Delhi of an all-party delegation, led by the Chief Minister.

According to information available here, the National Highways Authority of India has taken the position that the width of the national highway cannot be reduced to 30 metres owing to technical problems related to road construction.

The State had witnessed agitations against the widening of the national highway, following which the Chief Minister convened an all-party meeting.

The meeting decided to stay land acquisition and recommend to the Centre not to implement the Build-own-Transfer scheme and limit the development of the four-lane highways to 30 metres. Later, the State Cabinet ratified the decision of the all-party meeting.

The NH 17 Kerala State Action Council, which has been agitating against the road widening, has expressed concern at the NHAI's report on retaining the proposed road width.

Concern

The council expressed concern at the views expressed by government officials supporting the 45-metre widening of the national highways and the BOT scheme in contravention to the Cabinet's decision. In a statement here, the council urged the government to keep such officials in check and prevent them from overstepping their brief.

Sources said there was no basis for the apprehension about the road widening. State government officials said the Central delegation was visiting the State as a follow-up of the assurance given by the Prime Minister on considering the State's demands.

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