TAMIL NADU

Fresh tenders called for Nellore bypass road work

HYDERABAD, DEC. 22. Fresh tenders have been called by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for construction of the Nellore main bypass road at a cost of Rs. 146 crores, the Minister for Roads & Buildings, Mr. T. Nageswara Rao, informed the Assembly today.

Answering supplementaries during question hour, he told Mr. A. Vivekananda Reddy (Congress) and Mr. K. Koteswara Rao (TDP), that the work was originally given to a Malaysian company on build, operate, transfer (BOT) basis but was terminated as it failed to achieve mobilisation and to start work from April 2001, as promised.

The NHAI had since revised the original estimate of Rs. 85 crores and proposed the construction of a four-lane carriageway and a bridge across the Penna river on BOT with annuity basis. It would receive the tenders on January 7, 2002. The required land had been handed over to NHAI and due compensation would be paid to all pattadars and others.

Replying to another question tabled by Mr. G. Butchaiah Chowdary, he said the old National Highway (No. 5) between Rajahmundry and Eluru was proposed to be revived again via Kovvur and Nallajerla. In fact, a proposal had been sent to NHAI to upgrade the road into a four-lane carriageway from Gundugolanu to Rajahmundry via these two places as also the existing NH 5.

Mr. Nageswara Rao said this road would reduce the distance between Rajahmundry and Eluru by about 40 km. The Centre had informed that the upgradation of the old national highway would be considered in the Tenth Plan.

Police stations: The Home Minister, Mr. T. Devender Goud, said all police stations in the State would have their own buildings in the near future.

He told Mrs. R. Shobha (TDP) and others that of 1,572 police stations, as many as 479 were housed in Government buildings, 799 in buildings constructed by the A. P. Police Housing Corporation and 120 in private buildings. The Corporation was presently building 106 more police stations.

Referring to the pleas by members to open more stations in their constituencies, the Minister said that all except eight revenue mandals in the State had police stations. He said the Government would not open new stations without the minimum staff strength of 15.

Land for dargah: The Minister for Wakfs, Mr. N. Md. Farooq, said the Government had offered to provide alternate land to a private party which had won in the Supreme Court a dispute over the land surrounding Bara Shahid Dargah, a popular shrine in Nellore.

Mr. Farooq said the party had demanded a sum of Rs. 7 crores as compensation for handing over the land to the Wakf Board but the latter did not have the funds. Admitting that the Wakf Board had remained a weak organisation, he said the Government was not taking all steps to strengthen it.

Earlier,Mr. A. Vivekananda Reddy (Congress) alleged that Wakf Board officials had colluded with the party to grab 16.5 acres of land belonging to the dargah by consistently refusing to appoint advocates from the lowest to the highest courts even though the litigation lasted for 50 years.

APDDCF Branches: The A. P. Dairy Development Cooperative Federation (APDDCF), which has turned the corner last year by earning a cash profit of Rs. 40.61 lakhs, is planning to acquire a national brand image for its products sold under `Vijaya' label.

The Minister for Animal Husbandry, Mr. N. Kistappa, told Mr. D. Uma Maheswara Rao (TDP) that the Federation had started a branch in Bhubaneshwar and was planning to open more in Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Nagpur, Jaipur, Pune and Guwahati.

User charges: The Health Minister, Dr. N. Janardhan Reddy, said no user charges were being collected in Government hospitals from white cardholders and from persons below the poverty line. The doctors had been vested with discretionary power to provide free treatment to all poor patients.

Refuting the charge by Mr. Nomula Narasimhaiah (CPI-M) that hospital user charges were being collected at the World Bank's behest, he said nominal charges collected from patients who could afford it were being ploughed back for hospital development. In fact, the charges were fixed by hospital development committees and not by the Government, he added.

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