Local bodies in Karnataka asked not to permit buildings within 40 m of highway centre line

A view of the four-lane Tirthahalli-Malpe National Highway 169A in Manipal.

A view of the four-lane Tirthahalli-Malpe National Highway 169A in Manipal. | Photo Credit: ANIL KUMAR SASTRY

The National Highways Division of the Public Works Department of Karnataka has told all urban and rural local bodies not to permit construction of buildings within 40 m from the centre line of any National Highway in their jurisdiction.

As such, 40 m on either side of any National Highway should be maintained as construction-free zone, the department has said. In one such recent letter to the Municipal Commissioner of Udupi City Municipal Council, the Assistant Executive Engineer of National Highways Sringeri Sub-Division brought to his attention an order by the High Court of Karnataka passed on September 7, 2021, that confirmed the department’s stand on the issue.

Two National Highways pass through Uudpi CMC limits — the Kochi-Panvel National Highway 66 and the Malpe-Tirthahalli National Highway 169A. No licence should be issued to construct buildings within the specified limits of these highways, the Assistant Executive Engineer said in the letter.

He also noted that the High Court had categorically stated that action should be initiated against officials concerned if buildings are permitted to be constructed within the construction-free zone.

Asked whether buildings on either side of National Highway 169A that cuts through Udupi and Manipal towns were located beyond 40 m from the centre line of the highway, an engineer responded in the negative. He said that there could be very few. He did not comment on the fate of the buildings that have come up in violation of the rule.

The letter, however, was written to ensure that the local bodies do not issue licence for building construction within the prohibited zone at least in future, the engineer said.

The High Court has in many instances upheld the Government’s stand on the construction-free zone for National Highways and State Highways (40 m from the centre line of the highway) and directed the demolition of buildings that have come up in Padubidri Gram Panchayat limits (August 2021) and Uppunda Gram Panchayat limits (July 2021).

The Government laid down the rules on April 1, 2002 specifying construction-free zones for National Highways, State Highways and Major District Roads (25 m). After the recent court orders, the Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Public Works Department wrote to all chief engineers of construction wings on December 13, 2021, to strictly adhere to the specifications failing which engineers concerned will be held responsible for violations.

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Printable version | Feb 13, 2022 8:23:34 am |