NHAI delays Thanjai-Nagai Four laning

Shreenesh Raman

Thanjavur Tiruchy Toll Plaza near Thuvakudi  Img Source: Wikimedia

The National Highways Authority of India, apex body regulating national highways in the country is yet to award the contract for expanding the last leg of National Highway 67 from Thanjavur to Nagapattinam.

The NH 67 links Gundulpet in Karnataka and Nagapattinam via Ooty, Coimbatore, Karur, Kulithalai, Tiruchy, Thanjavur and Tiruvarur. Under the National Highway Development Plan Phase III (NHDP 3) highway widening from Karur to Tiruchy (79.7KM length) was bagged by Reliance Energy consortium for Rs 516 crore in March 2007. Meanwhile, the Tiruchy Thanjavur section (56KM length) was awarded to Madhucon Projects for Rs 280 Crore, both sections are under progress.

After the opening of MARG Karaikal port, road traffic in the region has quadrupled. The treacherous and tedious two lane road has reached its limits. Bus and lorry traffic has exceeded limits, Needamangalam a major railway junction witness’s traffic snarls when gates are closed for crossing. Earlier, Nagapattinam MP AKS Vijayan said, he is planning to file a Public Interest Litigation in the High court demanding construction of flyover.

Fisheries minister KA Jayapal during a recent meeting said, the state government is waiting for the centre’s approval to strengthen the Nagapattinam Thanjavur stretch. However, the growing lorry and TNSTC bus drivers feel, “traffic in the stretch has exceeded due to the movement of paddy, fertiliser, coal and heavy  equipment's via road four laning will be the best possible solution.” 

Inquiring upon the project, land acquisition posed a major roadblock in implementing the project. However, the NHAI failed to gear up and the project is in hibernation pending since 2007. The revenue officials and NHAI are blaming each other for stalling the upgradation of the arterial road for the past five years.

When Express tried to contact NHAI officials in Chennai, most officials are non cooperative and stayed away from divulging any information. However, the revenue department officials in Thanjavur and Tiruvarur district said land acquisition is nearing completion. Sources said, the NHAI shall award the contract and in due course of time, the land acquisition process will be completed.

The congestion rate is around 110 percent in the railway line between Karaikal and Tiruchy. Operating goods from the port and accommodating passenger train services is a tough task. As a relief, line doubling work between Tiruchy and Thanjavur will provide some relief, said railway sources.

Source: The New Indian Express, Tiruchy


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