Tamil Nadu

T.N. will fully cooperate on NHAI projects: CM to Gadkari

Expressing surprise at Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari’s observation that his Ministry was facing “major problems in Tamil Nadu,” Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Monday assured him that the State government will extend its full cooperation to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to expedite all projects. He also flagged several issues for necessary action.

Referring to Mr. Gadkari’s remarks during The Hindu BusinessLine event, ‘Countdown to Budget 2022’, he said, “Many of the current issues causing project delays are legacy issues of the past decade, and my teams of officers under the Chief Secretary are putting in their best efforts to sort them out at the earliest.”

Recalling the Union Minister’s previous letter to him on the issue, and his detailed response to it, Mr. Stalin said some corrective measures had to be taken by the NHAI, too, on some issues, which had resulted in project delays.

“The system of approval of land valuation for acquisition under the National Highways Act needs to be streamlined.In some cases, the NHAI has not agreed to the valuation fixed by the Competent Authority for Land Acquisition (CALA) or the arbitration awards given by the District Collectors, putting the process in limbo,” he pointed out.

Incomplete documents

In many cases, applications for ‘borrow earth permission’ were being submitted without the requisite documents, and in some instances, applications were submitted for sites which were not feasible due to stagnation of water in ponds/tanks or because they fell under eco-sensitive zones, he said. “Such applications need to be scrutinised before submission,” he added.

As for ‘borrow earth permission’ in government lands, which are being given for three months since Tamil Nadu has two spells of monsoon and tanks/ponds are usually under water for six months, the CM said, “Considering the request made by the NHAI, action is being taken to amend the mining rules to give permits for longer periods in government lands also.” For private lands, permission is already being given for nine months or more, he said.

Detailing the efforts being made by the State in implementing NHAI projects, Mr. Stalin recalled a meeting between the Minister for Public Works and the Union Minister in Delhi on October 12 last year, and a joint meeting on December 16 last year, attended by District Collectors, the NHAI General Manager and other officials. “All the issues and the action taken on them were discussed during this full-day [December 16] meeting, and it was noted that about 80% of the NHAI’s issues had been resolved,” he said.

“With all these steps, it is clear that the State government has put its best foot forward to support NHAI projects in Tamil Nadu, and this has helped resolve many long-pending issues,” the Chief Minister said.

“Considering the efforts made by the State government and the resultant progress in the field, your statement, made during the above-mentioned event, has been a bit surprising to me. Nevertheless, I, once again, would like to assure you that my government will provide its full cooperation to the NHAI to expedite all the works,” the Chief Minister said in his letter to the Union Minister.

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Printable version | May 21, 2022 3:58:37 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-will-fully-cooperate-on-nhai-projects-cm-to-gadkari/article38321138.ece