The Trivandrum Residents Apex Council (TRAC) has urged the government to develop the Thiruvananthapuram- Kattakada- Kottoor- Ambasamudram- Tirunelveli road as a priority project to tap the socio economic and strategic benefits accruing from the connectivity.

Pointing out that Thiruvananthapuram was the only State capital to be left out of the National Highway Development Project (NHDP) network, a pressnote quoting TRAC secretary K.T. Roy said here on Tuesday that restoration of the now-defunct Kottoor- Ambasamudram road would enable connectivity between Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai by the shortest route.

The proposed road, it observed, would spur the development of backward areas in the eastern parts of south Kerala and south western Tamil Nadu and provide better connectivity for strategic institutions such as the Southern Air Command, VSSC, Koodankulam nuclear power plant, and the proposed Special Economic Zone in south Tamil Nadu.

The TRAC said it would also serve as the main evacuation route in the disaster management plan for the Koodankulam nuclear plant.

The restored road would make up for the exclusion of Thiruvananthapuram from the NHDP. Tamil Nadu had initiated development of the new road on its side up to the State boundary. Mr. Roy said the construction of a tunnel for two-way traffic would help to overcome the impediment caused by the forests on the Kerala side. The additional expenditure could be offset by the savings on fuel.

“The new road would be of direct benefit for the southern districts of Kerala which depend on Tamil Nadu for agricultural produce. It would reduce the distance between Tirunelveli and Thiruvananthapuram by half, provide connectivity between the Tuticorin port and the container transshipment terminal at Vizhinjam, and link the east and west coasts.”

The TRAC called upon the government to convene a meeting of officials of the Union and State governments and people's representatives from the areas coming under the project to formulate an action plan for implementation.