Special Correspondent

Karun Helur-headed committee to submit its recommendations in two months

Thiruvananthapuram: Public Works Minister Mons Joseph on Saturday announced a seven-member committee to formulate a road development policy for the State.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Joseph said Bangalore-based transport planning consultant Karun Helur would be the chairman of the panel. It would comprise A.K. Sharma of the New Delhi School of Planning and Architecture; Kunjiriya P. Issac, Principal, College of Engineering, Wayanad; Tommy Cyriac, Technical Officer, Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project; Joseph Mathew, Chief Engineer, PWD, Projects;. Sureshan Koileri, Chief Engineer, National Highways; and P. K. Sathish, Chief Engineer, Roads and Bridges.

The Minister said the panel had been asked to submit its recommendation within two months, after the initial one- month for preparatory work.

He said the National Road Congress had suggested that State governments announce a road development policy. He had made an announcement in the Assembly during the debate on the demands for grants for his department about the government’s intention to come up with such a policy.

The panel would study the entire gamut of road construction, maintenance, measures to improve efficiency and the life of roads and other steps needed to be taken in the next 25 to 50 years.

He said the National Highways Authority of India had agreed to share with the State government the alignment and other details of the four-lane development project of National Highways 47 and 17 before finalising the proposals. He had held discussions with NHAI chairman Gokul Ram on this issue.

The government would examine a fast-track mechanism for land acquisition for the national highway project. As far as the other national highways in the State were concerned, the government had taken an official decision to convert them into two-lane roads. The government had also decided to conduct a feasibility study for converting the Kozhikode-Palakkad national highway into a four-lane one.

A three-member committee set up with PWD secretary Tom Jose as chairman to revise the PWD manual had submitted its report.

He termed as baseless the allegation that the PWD had failed to start repair and maintenance of Sabarimala roads in the run-up to the pilgrim season. He said the Travancore Devaswom Board president might have made such a remark out of ignorance.

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