NHAI told to halt four-laning of NH 212 until government takes a final call
With the district administration suggesting realignment of the Mysore-Nanjangud stretch of National Highway 212, hopes for extending the runway of the Mysore airport have been revived.
However, it has put a question mark on the early commencement and completion of the four-laning of the highway.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) took up the four-laning of the stretch after the State government ruled out the expansion of the airport two years ago.
The expansion of the runway hinged on the diversion of the highway as their alignment bisected each other.
The solution was to shift the alignment of the highway so that the runway length could be increased to facilitate operation of heavier aircraft and make the airport commercially viable. The runway now is only 1740-metre long which enables operation of only short-haul ATR type of aircraft. Most airlines have deployed their ATR aircraft in north eastern and other sectors and there is only one airline which operates thrice a week to Mysore.
Hence stakeholders suggested increasing the runway length to at least 2,400 metres to facilitate operation of wide-bodied aircraft like Boeing and Airbus. The NHAI has completed its survey and tenders have been finalised for the four-laning of the highway along the existing alignment.
However, at a review meeting on Monday, the district administration suggested to the NHAI that four-laning could be taken up but nothing be done near the airport until the government took a final call on the runway extension and highway deviation.
Manjunath, representative of the Airports Authority of India, told The Hindu that the airport expansion was always on. Deputy Commissioner M. Rame Gowda, who chaired the meeting, said road-widening was important and could commence but for a stretch of 8 km near the airport. “If not, it will be a wasted expenditure in case the government subsequently decides on expanding the airport and the runway taking a long term view of the city’s growth,” he said.
Land acquisition of nearly 145 acres would not be a problem and the highway could be aligned from Uttanahalli to Kadakola as a loop. Chainlink mesh fences would be erected to demarcate the boundary of the airport land to keep away stray animals, he added.
However, sources in the NHAI said it was not possible to take up work in bits and pieces and it might be too late at this juncture to revive the realignment plan which entailed land acquisition and paying compensation to farmers.
This will be a long-drawn process, would hold up the works and the tenders would have to be invited afresh.
Incidentally, farmers in the region have been seeking up to Rs. 50 lakh an acre as compensation. The NHAI and the AAI needs encumbrance-free land for taking up the work and the latest review works has put a question mark on the early commencement of both the projects.