NH widening: Centre directs to correct decision to demote Kerala from priority list
New Delhi: The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has directed the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to correct the decision of removing Kerala from the priority list of developing national highways in the country. The direction was given in a meeting between Sanjeev Ranjan, the secretary to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and G Kamala Vardhana Rao, principal secretary for the state public work department.
Earlier, the state had conveyed its displeasure and objection in downgrading the state from first priority list to the second one. Following that, Nitin Gadkari, union transport minister had cancelled the move. However, an ordinance wasn’t issued on this. When this matter was brought up in the meeting, secretary to the transportation ministry gave the direction.
The NHAI had recognised and approved the developmental works of national highways in Kerala in January 2018. Transportation secretary informed that the decision to downgrade Kerala to the second list of priorities was taken by the NHAI. And the priority list was decided due to the increase in expense in land acquisition across the country.
In the meeting, principal secretary Kamala Vardhana Rao informed that the downgrading was a setback to the developmental activities of the state as the land acquisition in the state had advanced a lot. If the project gets delayed, the rush of vehicles on national highways and the high price of land will hinder developmental activities. So, considering these facts, he demanded the centre to retain the name of state in the first list.
The principal secretary also demanded approval for the other national highway developmental projects that weren’t recognised by the centre. In the meeting held at the ministry of transport on Tuesday, joint secretary Amit Kumar Ghosh also took part along with the secretary of transportation.
On Monday, a meeting between NHAI chairman and principal secretary of public works was also held.