The 318-km UP section of the 4,000-km North-South Corridor project,which will link Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir with Kochi in Kerala,has been languishing because of environmental issues,Centre-state differences and encroachments. The problem areas are the Jhansi-Lalitpur stretch and the Agra bypass.
In reply to an RTI application,the UP regional office of NHAI has informed that the Jhansi-Lalitpur section of the corridor is still incomplete although the deadline was September 2009. Of the total 49.7km stretch,44.52 km road has been constructed,but the development of remaining 5 km road on the border of UP and Madhya Pradesh is stuck because the land is not available with NHAI.
An official associated with the project said that nearly 4.5 km stretch of that 5-km road near Tikamgarh falls in the forest area of UP where as remaining 500 metres fall in the forest land of Madhya Pradesh. Officials said that the Ministry of Environment and Forests had given clearance for construction.
Now the problem is that the UP government has given clearance for the 4.5 km road construction but with a condition that land would be provided on lease and NHAI will have to pay the lease rent. That is not acceptable and hence the matter is again pending with higher authorities of both UP government and NHAI, said an official.
As for the Madhya Pradesh government,it is getting a study conducted by its Jabalpur Forest Research Institute regarding the impact of the road construction on the flora and fauna of the area. Construction in MPs would be started after getting a final approval from the government there, said the official.
In Agra bypass,which is 32.8 km long,the problem is that a 9 km stretch is under encroachments. The land falls in Sadar and Kirawali tehsils of Agra district. NHAI officials said land has been transferred on paper,but NHAI has yet to get physical possession.
There are some villagers who have been given compensation against their land acquired for the highway. But now they are demanding more compensation with higher rates. The issue is yet to be resolved, said H N Mallick,NHAI general manager (UP).
Work on this section of 32.8 km was started in July 2011 and it is scheduled to be completed in 2014, Mallick said.
The North-South Corridor connects Srinagar in Jammu-Kashmir to Kochi in Kerala and passes through Punjab,Haryana,Delhi,UP,Rajasthan,Madhya Pradesh,Maharashtra,Andhra Pradesh,Karnataka,Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
According to information on the NHAI website,updated till September 30,all stretches have been completed in Haryana,Delhi and Karnataka. In other states,incomplete stretches are 9 in Madhya Pradesh,8 in J&K,4 in Maharashtra and 2 each in Punjab,UP, Kerala,Andhra Pradesh,Tamil Nadu.
Officials said Jhansi is the junction of North-South and East-West Corridors in UP.