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Plan to widen National Highway 17 opposed

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Govind D. Belgaumkar

People whose land is being acquired petition the Chief Minister

Designed speed on proposed road is 100-km an hour

NHAI will be executing this entire project

MANGALORE: National Highway 17, between Nanthoor Circle and Talapady, when it is made four-lane, will be 60 metres wide, and can be expanded to accommodate six-lane traffic, according to the plan that has already been prepared. National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) sources describe it as futuristic, aesthetic and eco-friendly, with tree corridors on either side. The design speed is 100 km an hour.

According to the specifications provided by the NHAI, the road will have a 4.5-m median, a 9-m stretch spread equally on either side of the broad median reserved for future development, and six metres of the acquired property earmarked for a tree corridor.

While the carriageway will be 14 metres wide (seven metres each side), the cross-section of the highway from end-to-end will be 60 metres. It will include a two-metre drain on either side. Immediately abutting the median, the road will have on either side a 0.25-metre “shy-off” to ensure that vehicles do not move close to the kerb stone of the median.

The design of the road, a copy of which is with The Hindu, suggests that it will provide for a four-metre patch all along the road, earmarked for utility purpose on one side. It will have earthen trench on the boundary line of the road.

NHAI sources said that land acquisition for this part of the larger Kundapur-Talapady 90-km four-lane project had begun. Preliminary notifications had been issued for acquisition of 46 hectares of private land. The contract had been awarded to Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd., Hyderabad, they said.

The project involves a flyover at Mahaveera Circle and an additional bridge across the Netravati, near Muger. It will have service roads near Nanthoor and the Mahaveera Circle and at Thokkuttu.

Opposition

The project has been opposed by land-losers from Nanthoor area. They have stated that the NHAI is already in possession of the land required to widen the road between Nanthoor and Mahaveer Circle. They sent a delegation to Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa recently in this regard. District in-charge Minister J. Krishna Palemar too has expressed reservations about the project.

NHAI sources, however, point out that if the project was not allowed in the way it had been planned, the State would stand to lose. They said that the NHAI was investing Rs. 674 crore on widening the stretch between Kundapur and Talapady and Rs. 200 crore on utility shifting and land acquisition. There was no contribution from the State. “If we are asked to restrict it (the width) to 45 metres, the NHAI will save a lot of money,” the sources said.

International standard

They said that providing a 4.5-m-wide median and a tree corridor on either side was in keeping with international standards. The opposition from land-losers should not be allowed to deny a modern road facility to larger population. “In a few years, it will have to be upgraded to six lanes,” the sources said.

Land-losers, who vouch to be in favour of development, allege that they are being displaced unnecessarily.

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