Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet's Committee on Economic Affairs on Thursday gave its approval for upgrading the Salem-Ulundurpet, Tiruchi-Dindigul and Tiruch-Karur sections of the national highways in Tamil Nadu at a total cost of Rs. 2,033 crores.

The upgradation would be undertaken on build-operate-transfer mode under phase III A of the National Highways Development Programme phase. The Salem-Ulundurpet section would cover a distance of 136 km and cost Rs. 941 crores, while the Tiruchi-Dindigul section would cover 88 km and cost Rs.576 crores and the Tiruchi-Karur section would cover 80 km and cost Rs. 516 crores.

The projects had come up for clearance at a previous meeting of the CCEA itself along with a similar project for upgrading Bangalore-Mulbagal section of the national highways in Karnataka. The previous meeting cleared the Karnataka project, but deferred a decision on the projects in Tamil Nadu because of certain discrepancies in the concessional agreements. The discrepancies were later removed leading to Thursday's decision.

Nod for extension

The Union Cabinet, which also met on Thursday approved extension of one year each for the national commission for economically backward classes not covered by existing reservation and the national commission to study developmental aspects of de-notified tribes, and nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes. The term of the panel for economically backward classes was earlier scheduled to expire on January 31 and that of the panel on tribes on February 5.