Residents await Centre’s response to demand for service roads

In the absence of service lanes, Tiruchi-Thanjavur National Highway is in the grip of traffic chaos.  

After the articulation of the need for service roads along the 14.5 km accident-prone stretch from Palpannai to Thuvakudi by Tiruchi MP Su. Thirunavukkarasar in Parliament, thousands of residents in the plethora of residential localities are eagerly anticipating an appropriate response from the Centre.

“There is an immediate necessity to lay a 14-km stretch of service road from Palpannai to Thuvakudi,” Mr. Thirunavukkarasar said in Parliament, espousing the demand of the Federation for Retrieval of Tiruchi-Palpannai-Thuvakudi Service Roads, comprising about 40 residents welfare associations representing various colonies along the city stretch of the Tiruchi-Thanjavur national highway.

The stretch runs along the highly industrialised part of the city and a large number of industrial units, commercial establishments, schools, and residential colonies were situated along the road.

In May 2014, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued a gazette notification for acquiring land required for the service lanes. The National Highways Authority of India, while widening the road as four-lane carriageway, did not provide service road which led to several accidents.

Due to recurring road accidents, the State government agreed to bear the cost of land acquisition and NHAI even agreed to provide a service road. An amount of ₹84.50 crore was deposited by the State government in 2014. The NHAI estimated an amount of ₹196 crore towards land acquisition cost for a 60 metre right of way(ROW). The State government asked NHAI to bear 50% of the cost of land acquisition.

As an immediate measure, the State government suggested that NHAI revise the land acquisition notification by restricting ROW to 45 metres considering local constraints.

The Federation is annoyed with the government over the delay in start of land acquisition despite deposit of the money in the account of the Special District Revenue Officer (Land Acquisition), National Highways.

The Federation that had conducted a series of agitations demanding construction of the service lanes even announced poll boycott prior to the Lok Sabha elections, but dropped its plan after securing assurances from political parties that their demand would be addressed in right earnest. “We have hopes that the Centre will understand the gravity of the situation and respond appropriately,” S. Sakthivel, an organiser said.

Sources close to Mr. Thirunavakkarasar said the Centre’s reply was expected shortly. Out of the 14.5 km stretch, land acquisition from private parties would be confined to the 10-km stretch from Palpannai to Tiruverumbur. From there to Thuvakkudi, the acquiring land owned by the government and public sector undertakings would be a smooth sail, sources said.

NHAI has already taken initiatives to construct a flyover from Ganesa Point to Thuvakudi. The flyover is essential for safe crossing of the NH 83 by employees of BHEL from the township on the western side to the industry on the other side.

After the NHAI Project Implementation Unit in Thanjavur carried out a feasibility study last year, the Regional Office of NHAI in Madurai floated a tender inviting eligible contractors to construct it at a cost of ₹ 49.35 crore.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 3:02:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/residents-await-centres-response-to-demand-for-service-roads/article28764092.ece

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