Cost sharing: Kerala yet to sign contracts with NHAI for TVM outer ring road, Kollam-Shenkottai NH

CR Krishnakumar

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Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government is yet to sign contracts with the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for land acquisition for the Thiruvananthapuram outer ring road and the Kollam-Shenkottai Greenfield National Highway over a dispute over land acquisition expense sharing.

The NHAI claims Kerala land prices are so high that almost double the construction expense is required for acquiring properties.

The state government has already informed the union ministry that it cannot bear 25% of land prices for NH works. It had spent money on ongoing NH widening projects in the state. It argues that no other state has such a massive burden.

As per the contract prepared, NHAI and Kerala have to bear the expenditures of the Thiruvananthapuram outer ring road and Kollam-Shenkottai Greenfield National Highway in a ratio of 50:50 and 75:25, respectively. The authority initiated the auction proceedings for construction of both projects months ago.

The construction expenditure of the outer ring road has been estimated at Rs 2,967 crore while for the Kollam-Shenkottai National Highway, it is Rs 1,192.8 crore.

According to the latest notification, 100.87 hectare will be acquired for the ring road. The hearing at 3 villages involved in the ring road project has been completed. Hearing procedures for the remaining two villages will begin on May 18. The initial land acquisition proceedings and hearing for the Shenkottai Highway have already commenced.

The union government says that national highway development in Kerala is 17 times costlier than the national average.

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