THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As an all-party delegation led by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan is set to take up with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday the issue of scaling down the width of National Highways 47 and 17, the move is feared to stymie the development prospects of the State.
The demand is being raised anticipating the problems in land acquisition. Originally the highways were proposed to be developed with a width of 60 metres with service roads and shoulders in line with the National Highway standards. Subsequently, it was reduced to 45 metres citing the problems in land acquisition. Now, it has been proposed to be further reduced to 30 metres without any service roads. It has been decided to halt land acquisition till the Centre took a final decision on the issue. The State is also opposed to the development of roads on a build-operate-transfer basis.
Though the votaries of development cannot overlook the scarcity and the increasing pressure on land resources, lack of infrastructure facilities, mainly connectivity, has been cited as one of the main impediments in developing the State as a potential investment destination. Even campaigns launched by the State government in other States about the drastic change in the industrial milieu had not helped to woo entrepreneurs, sources said.