After the 'The Great Wall ' issue during the ruling of UDF state government, yet another issue came again with much more argues and protests in the state. The National Highway expansion has been in the newspapers in the recent time as the hot stuff. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has approved the expansion of about 700 km of highway in the State at an estimated investment of Rs 10,000 crore over a 30-month period. There are wide protests against the 45 metre wide project from different parts of Kerala. The political resistance by almost all the Kerala parties demanded the construction of 30 meters plan initially. But considering the technological and modern aspects of the state, they are now in a position to review the plan. The main issue arises as the outcome is the negative impacts on people due to the land acquisition. These issues made the entire project at risk in Kerala and it is feared that Kerala will loose the vital step for the infrastructure development with a long view towards the future. It is interesting to note some factually incorrect arguments regarding the impact of road expansion. According to the study conducted by NHAI as the total number of people that will be affected by the land acquisition will be less than 50,000, against the 25 lakh put out by those protesting against the project.
Why should we go for National Highway expansion ?
In all the developed countries, almost all the developing countries and many cities of India itself, there are express highway connecting different parts of the cities. We are talking about just one express highway, not many roads here and there. We need to look the future too. When other cities are developing rapidly, it is not fair to abandon the project on the basis of political games. Some of the points regarding the need of the expansion of the highway are;
1. The highway connecting the two ends of Kerala would accelerate the development in the State by reducing few hours journey from the capital to the other end.
2. This project would boost several industries like tourism, local industries etc
3. The project will reduce the productivity loss in the State. The productivity loss and increased fuel consumption in Trivandrum-Kochi highway is estimated about Rs.2700 crore annually due to the congestion and lower speeds of vehicles.
4.Kerala boasts the highest vehicle density of 1:6 in the country (one vehicle for every six people, which is over four times the national average) and the highest annual traffic growth of 13%. So Kerala needs more roads to load these vehicles.
5.The State has an average of 11 deaths and 120 grievous injuries every day, pedestrian accidents being the majority one.
6. According to a study, the average speed of the vehicles in the state would reach to a bare minimum of 15 in the next 20 years from the present 43 km per hour.
7. The number of families, especially those belonging to the weaker sections of the society, devastated by road accidents every year is alarmingly high. A study has revealed that the total number of families affected by road accidents each year in the State is three times that of the number of families affected by land acquisition for the National Highway development project.
8. The congestion and other issues arising from the small highways will increase transportation costs and further leading to increase in costs of the essential commodities.
9.The common man will also be adversely affected by poor and inadequate connectivity.
Why shouldn't we go for National Highway expansion?
Development should not hinder the needs of the present and the future. If this project happens, there are serious issues related to the land acquisition. The widening of a one km stretch will affect 310 families, 1076 people and 51 buildings. Thus the whole project will ruin 17 257,300 families, 903,840 people and 42,840 buildings.
1. For a densely crowded state like Kerala, a plan like this will lead the loss of many settled houses, industries and firms.
2. Increase in the cost of travel.
But the Central Government is ready to provide the people with more than 10% of the market prize to the acquisition lands. And most of the suggestions provided by the state government to settle the rehabilitation of people is accepted. So what we need now is a mass awareness program about the need of this national highway expansion policy and it's position in the future. If this happens, this will make the rapid development in Kerala industries and a new hope for development will be opened for all the sections of society. We need this project. It's disadvantages will remain only for a short span of time, but the advantages remain longer.
|Author: Prof (Dr.) Ramakumar,V 03 Sep 2010 Member Level: Bronze Points : 2|
|One must reckon that the per capita land in Kerala is 0.13 Hecatre and per capita cropable land is less than 0.1 hectare. If we must get all the advantages of highway without acquiring more land you must go for 4o to 45 meter wide fly overs on solid pillars and at places of acute need even two tier roads. The cost compare favourably with the cost of compensation, litigations, time lapse on procedure and cost of maintenance. |
At Wayanad it can solve trespassing of elephant path. The space between pillars can be used as local markets like shanties. It would not stand in the way of rain water flow channels and would not disturb the geological divides which has vital for sustenance of environment. One can carry electric or ommunication cables beneath the fly overs and lay sewerage below them.
|Author: urmilesh kumar 03 Sep 2010 Member Level: Gold Points : 2|
|In 73 in DUBAI there was a single road for both way traffic so overtaking was a nightmare which ended up in fatal accidents. Today THEY HAVE 8 Track road on each direction with dedicated line FOR Ambulance, fire and safety and police vehicles.we are not dubai, but development should not be prevented in national interest. from cochin to mumbai is 1348 kms only, but by road it takes 36 hours or more when it should take only14-16 hours. we need wide roads. once vallarpadam container terminal is opertional there will be treamendous container traffic to and fro from cochin to tuticorin and vizhinjam,so what are we up to?once everybody thought it will be impossible to widen the roads at palayam,pulimoodu area in trivandrum. Now, road is widened, shopkeepers given shops in exclusive shopping malls built for their rehabilitation. This should be the precedent.Those who oppose will be antinationals|