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Difference over width of service lane along NH-67 affecting progress

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(File Photo)

The proposal for the service lane along a stretch of NH-67 connecting Trichy and Thanjavur has been paralysed owing to opposition from residents and associations over the width of road. Recently, the State Highways department in a memorandum to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had suggested reducing the right of way (ROW) of the proposed service lane from 60m to 45m.

Even though the Trichy-Thanjavur stretch on NH-67 was completed during 2011-12, the service road facility for a 14.5km stretch from Palpannai to Thuvakudi was not constructed by NHAI. As the absence of the service road has been leading to frequent accidents resulting in loss of lives, the state government in 2013 suggested NHAI to lay service lane on the stretch with a width of 60m. Following the suggestion, NHAI prepared a gazette in 2014 for laying the service road post land acquisition. Residents claim that the state government took a u-turn by revising the width of service lane to 45m.
Recently, in a memorandum dated November 23, 2017, the state highways department reiterated NHAI to restrict ROW of service lane to 45m considering the difficulties involved in land acquisition, drawing flak from road users. "Instead of foreseeing future demands, the state government is keen to restrict the road width to 45m. Commercial establishments without parking facility will use up the service road and will not solve the purpose of establishing such facility," said S Sakthivel, organiser, Federation for Retrieval of Trichy-Palpannai-Thuvakkudi Service Road.
NHAI had estimated Rs 196 crore as cost towards land acquisition cost if 60m ROW is adopted and about Rs 84.50 crore was deposited by the state government in 2014. With 60m ROW, NHAI will bear 50 per cent of the cost involved in land acquisition.
Official sources with the state highways department said that a permanent move was floated by the state government which would explore the possibility of elevating the specified stretch on NH67 without service road so that the existing stretch between Thuvakudi and Palpannai beneath the proposed elevated portion can be utilized as service road. Citing that about 60 per cent of 35.51 hectares land required for service road is with the Central and state government institutes, residents urged NHAI and State government to acquire land for establishing the service road with 60m instead of 45m ROW. NHAI Thanjavur PIU officials were not available for comment.


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