Gadkari’s comment on challenges in TN road projects surprising: Stalin

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has said that the state government has put its best foot forward to support the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) projects and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s statement on challenges is surprising.

Stalin in a letter to Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Gadkari, listing out the steps taken by his government said: “Considering the efforts taken by the State Government and the resultant progress in the field, your statement made during the above-mentioned event has been a bit surprising to me.”

Recently Gadkari said the NHAI is finding it difficult to source construction aggregates and getting forest clearance in Tamil Nadu due to its bureaucratic system.

Gadkari urged Stalin to look into the matter and sort out the issues.

Last December, the NHAI had said it is foreclosing four major highway projects as the contractors were not able to source the construction aggregates.

Stalin responding to that statement told Gadkari: “During the review of NHAI projects, it has come to our notice that some corrective measures have to be taken by NHAI too, on some issues which result in project delays.”

Stalin said the system of approval of land valuation for land acquisition under the National Highways Act needs to be streamlined.

“In some cases, NHAI has not agreed to the valuation fixed by the Competent Authority for Land Acquisition (CALA) or the arbitration awards given by the District Collectors, putting the process in limbo,” Stalin added.

Similarly, in many cases the applications for borrow earth permission are being given without the requisite documents. In some instances, the applications have been given for sites which are not feasible due to stagnation of water in ponds/ tanks or falling in eco sensitive zones. Such applications need to be scrutinized before submission, Stalin said.

Citing the meeting of state officials with NHAI General Manager and others on December 16, 2021, Stalin said: “All the issues and action taken on them were discussed during this full day meeting and it was noted that about 80 per cent of the NHAI issues have been resolved.”

He also said, the issues relating to specific projects, whenever highlighted by NHAI, (like Vikaravandi – Kumbakonam – Thanjavur Road and Melur – Karaikudi Road) have also been resolved which Gadkari can also verify with NHAI team.

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