Govt to take back roads entrusted to NHAI

In an effort to improve the road network, the State Government has earmarked Rs 10,710 crore for the next three years for infrastructure development.

Road improvement projects in seven cities at a investment of Rs 3,500 crore, State road improvement project costing Rs 4,000 crore and Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP) phase II at Rs 750 crore are part of the plan, Minister for Public Works V.K. Ebrabim Kunju has said.

He told Business Line that the objective is to avoid toll collections from the newly developed roads as the government is facing stiff opposition from the public over toll.

The Minister added that land acquisition for widening of roads is a problem, which is hindering road development.

There are also plans to evolve a new route for infrastructure development by involving people in projects under a new concept of public private people’s participation (PPPP).

The government is looking forward to people’s participation through local self-government institutions, he said, adding that this concept was mooted at the recently held Emerging Kerala Investors meet.

Takeover from NHAI

He said the government is planning to take back 800 km of road entrusted to NHAI for development. This will be developed by the State on international standards and there will not be any toll collections.

Understanding the need and importance of a world-class road network, he said the Government had announced in the last budget a road network development programme aimed at developing state of the art road network.

The government has formed an SPV named Road Infrastructure Company Kerala Ltd (RICK) to improve 1,204 km of State highways, district roads etc. The Cabinet has accorded sanction for Rs 4,000 crore in this regard, the Minister said.

In total, 62 roads, including 29 State highways, are grouped under rehabilitation category and remaining 33 roads under upgradation category. The idea is to develop these roads on international standards without much land acquisition and tolls will not be collected, he said.

Regarding the KSTP Phase II project, the Minister said the works included were upgrading 363 km of State roads and focus on road safety etc.

sajeevkumar.v@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 7, 2012)
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