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Highway expansion project kicks up a row

G. Nagaraja
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Fighting for a cause:Dutta Ramachandra Rao, medical practitioner, on an indefinite fast at Hanuman Junction.– Photo: A.V.G. Prasad
Fighting for a cause:Dutta Ramachandra Rao, medical practitioner, on an indefinite fast at Hanuman Junction.– Photo: A.V.G. Prasad

The expansion of National Highway-5 from four to six lanes on the Vijayawada-Gundukolanu section at a cost of Rs. 2,200 crore has run into rough weather with people facing displacement opposing it vehemently.

Residents of villages and towns en route the Krishna-West Godavari district borders are in jitters over loss of agricultural lands, human settlements, industries and roadside shops, and business establishments.

The proposal for laying a 260-foot-wide bypass road from Veleru crossroads in Krishna district to the toll plaza at Kalaparru in West Godavari district for a stretch of 7 km. as part of the highway expansion programme has triggered protests in the border villages.

Dutta Ramachandra Rao, a medical practitioner, undertook fast two days ago in this town under the banner of the Joint Action Committee against the bypass road.

The highway, which was expanded into four lanes in 2008, has made life difficult for people residing in roadside villages and towns and it has led to a sharp increase in accidents. The situation would turn from bad to worse in the Veluru-Kalaparru section now as the bypass runs through villages and clusters of industries, Dr. Ramachandra Rao said.

“For instance, the bypass road will be laid as close as 900 metre from Hanuman Junction. If it becomes a reality, it will give us sleepless nights,” he adds.

Residents of around 150 houses in Bommuluru (Krishna district) and Kalaparru (West Godavari district) are expected to be displaced, apart from the loss of 200 acres of fertile agricultural lands belonging to five border villages. Besides, the project is also likely to affect eight major factories either partially or fully. An agro-based oil mill will be fully lost while a sugar factory will be partially affected.

The bypass road, it is feared, will render the industrial area comprising a sugar factory and paper mills near Hanuman Junction vulnerable to road accidents. Police records show that 30-40 fatal accidents have occurred at this particular point in the last four years since the four-lane road was laid. If the alignment of the bypass road is changed, the loss of human settlements and properties could be mitigated to a large extent, Dr. Rao said.


  • The NH-5, which was expanded into four-lane in 2008, has made life difficult for people

  • 200 acres of fertile agricultural lands belonging to five border villages likely to be lost


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