The State Highways Act will be modified giving effect to the concept of land pooling, Highways and Minor Ports Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami told the Assembly on Friday.

Initiating a debate on the demands for grants of his department, Mr. Palaniswami explained how difficult it was to acquire land for road projects in view of the reluctance of land owners to part with their property.

“Through this scheme [of land pooling], land is pooled and road grids can be neatly formed. This has proved very successful in some parts of the world and other States in India.”

Land pooling would be utilised for development of infrastructure as well as economic development. This would, in turn, enable redistribution of the remaining plots back to the land owners concerned.

A huge land acquisition cost would be avoided and this would be beneficial to the land owners, who would get back 70 per cent to 80 per cent of developed land.

To tide over problems in land acquisition, the concept of transfer of developmental rights (TDR) was being used as an effective means to procure land. A cell had been set up in the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) in this regard. On 10 major roads, including Velachery Main Road and Grand Northern Trunk (GNT) Road, 19,672 square metres of land had been taken possession by the CMDA.

The land so possessed would be handed over to the Highways Department for road widening.

As of now, 2,110 sq.m of land had been given to the department.

Wrapping up the debate, the Minister announced that intermediate State Highways of 350 km and single-land major district roads of 1,150 km would be widened this year at a cost of Rs.740 crore under the Comprehensive Road Infrastructure Development Programme (CRIDP). Works for 9 road over bridges (ROB) or under bridges (RUB) at railway crossings would be established at a cost of Rs.322.37 crore. The 111-km-long Cuddalore-Vriddhachalam State Highway had been declared a national highway (NH-532). The action would be initiated for a two-lane bridge on the NH-209 near Ganapathi in Coimbatore at a cost of Rs.20 crore.

Apart from allocating Rs.1 crore for preliminary work for the proposed Tharamangalam bypass, the process of land acquisition would begin for by-pass projects for Manachanallur, Mannargudi, Tiruvallur and Tirutanni.

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