Thiruvanathapuram: Congress-led UDF government in Kerala on Thursday decided to assure the Centre that it would acquire and handover necessary land to NHAI for developing National Highway stretches at a width of 45 metres.
A decision to this effect was taken against the background of the Centre denying aid to the state for its proposal to develop NH stretches at a width of 30 metres, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari had said in July Centre will not extend any assistance under national highways programme if the Kerala government decides to develop NH stretches in the state at 30-metre width instead of 45 metres.
Referring to Gadkari's statement that Kerala government was not co-operating for National Highways development, Chandy said "we cannot blame the Centre for that remark."
Considering the state request for relaxation in conditions in view of scarcity of land, the Centre had reduced the road width to 45 metres from 60 metres followed in other parts of the country. The state had again approached the Centre to reduce the width from 45 to 30 metres.
"Cabinet has decided to acquire land for developing NH 17 and NH 47 with 45 metres width," Chandy said, adding, district collectors concerned would be instructed to acquire land as soon as possible.
Chandy also said land owners would be given a good compensation package. Market value for the land would be paid in time bound manner, Chandy added.
Chandy recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remark wondering why the state government was not using the gas from LNG terminal by completing pipe laying work for reducing production costs in public sector Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd in Kochi, when the state sought a financial package for FACT's rejuvenation.
Pipe laying work of Gas Authority of India from Kochi Terminal to Mangalore has also halted in the state due to delay in land acquisition.
Chandy said government has decided to speed up land acquisition process for pipe laying works, road development and drawing power transmission line.