The 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.
This was informed by Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari to BJP’s Kerala unit president V Muraleedharan who met him at his office here.
“We are opposing the state government’s move. We informed the minister (Gadkari) that national highway should be 45 m and Kerala government should not be allowed to convert it into a 30-m national highway. He told us that NHAI funds would not be available for NHs lesser than 45 m wide,” Muraleedharan told PTI.
The Kerala government is keen on fast-tracking four-laning of 30-m highways to avoid the massive land acquisition that was needed if the width was 45 m or 60 m as in the case of other NHDP projects in the country.
Bowing to pressure from the state, the previous UPA government had agreed in principle to reduce the width of 829 km of national highways being developed from 45 m to 30 m.
Muraleedharan claimed that the state government wanted to tweak the rules on the pretext that it could not acquire land.
“It was a sort of a conspiracy on their (state government’s) part,” Muraleedharan said and alleged that “if it is allowed to have a 30-m road and the central government’s assistance is available, it will benefit many people who are in this contract.”