Wednesday, June 30, 2010

All-party meet on NH issue soon

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government would soon convene an all-party meet to discuss how to respond to the Centres stand that the highways must have 45 metre width to be eligible for Central assistance, Finance and Public Works Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac told the Assembly on Wednesday.

Responding to a calling attention motion by Rajaji Mathew Thomas (CPI), Dr. Isaac said the Centre had informally communicated to the State its rejection of the last all-party meetings resolution to limit the width of the highways to 30 metres. The State must now decide how to respond to the Centres stand and also how highway development could be achieved without causing hardship to the people who were likely to be displaced because of it, he said.

Dr. Isaac said the alignment of the highways would have to be re-worked. This would be possible only through a techno-social audit with the involvement of experts. Those who own land and buildings on either side of the highways, those who run shops and other establishments in such buildings either as owners or as tenants and those who occupy land abutting the highways would all have to be compensated at market rates.

It would also be necessary to rehabilitate those who live on either side of the highways and also provide employment to those whose livelihood is dependent on their being closer to the highways, he added.

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