NHAI to issue notification for greenfield alignment of Kochi-Munnar highway

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will issue a notification under Section 3 (A) of the National Highways Act 1956 within a month to acquire land for the greenfield alignment of the 165-km Kochi-Munnar NH 85, which the agency aims to develop as a four-lane stretch to establish port-to-port connectivity between Kochi and Tuticorin.

By invoking the provision, the agency will declare its intention to acquire land needed for the project. “An officer was appointed recently to kick-start the process of acquiring land for the project, whose greenfield alignment plan is ready. The entire project will be a greenfield alignment, except approximately 4-km land that the State government had acquired over three decades ago for the Thripunithura bypass (which turned out to be a non-starter). The aim is to ensure that the alignment will be devoid of steep curves,” official sources said.

No new plots (from land which were frozen 30 years ago for the Thripunithura bypass) will be acquired afresh for the Kochi-Munnar NH. Only land that was acquired by PWD and whose compensation was completed will be integrated with the new greenfield alignment of the NH and their possession taken over by the NHAI. “The total project cost of the greenfield highway will be known shortly in the DPR. Every effort will be made to get clearances on the project’s cost, environmental and social impact from different committees, within six months of the DPR being finalised. The existing Kochi-Munnar NH which is now maintained by PWD (NH wing) using funds issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) will be handed over to the State government, they added.

As per the revised alignment, the proposed 45-m-wide NH will take off a kilometre south of Kundannoor Junction, to prevent congestion at the junction.

Thripunithura bypass

The PWD (NH Wing), which readied the alignment for the 8.50-km-long Thripunithura bypass, had recently requested the NHAI that it include the entire length of the bypass in the revised alignment of the Kochi-Munnar NH and not just the Mattakuzhy-Thiruvankulam stretch where land acquisition got over. Members of Parliament, NGOs and residents associations too had made such a demand, especially so since the Thripunithura bypass was included in the Bharatamala Pariyojana project in December 2020.

MP’s demand

Chalakudy MP Benny Behanan, who was in the forefront of the campaign to realise the Thripunithura bypass, and took up the issue in the Lok Sabha said that he will apprise higher-ups in NHAI and if need be, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nithin Gadkari of the need to include the entire bypass alignment on the upcoming NH stretch. “Efforts will also be made to prevail on the State government to convene a meeting, so that the possibility of the State pooling in with funds to acquire the pending land can be probed,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 1:09:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/nhai-to-issue-notification-for-greenfield-alignment-of-kochi-munnar-highway/article34719643.ece

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