The 318-km UP section of 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 Jhansi-Lalitpur section of the corridor is still incomplete,although the deadline was September 2009. Of the total 49.7-km 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 to 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 falls in forest land of Madhya Pradesh. Official said that Ministry of Environment and Forests had given clearance for construction.
Now the problem is that the UP government has given clearance for 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,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 papers,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, 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.