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Govt’s okay for Rs 3000 cr NH17 bill raises eyebrows
July 31, 2012
PANJIM: The State PWD ministry’s willingness to bear 60% of the cost for the up-gradation/expansion of NH 17 – has raised serious questions in some quarters, since it would burden the State exchequer with an approximately Rs 3000 crore bill.
“Four/six laning of the NH17 is a Central government project,
and funds are sanctioned by the Centre for the same. The Goa government should not have to spend for this; if it has funds, it should utilise the same for village and State roads,” says Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik.
Naik, who has been raising the issue in the Rajya Sabha, said it was “strange” that the State government was taking “extraordinary interest” to fund this project, which would amount to a huge financial burden for the State.
Significantly, the new government’s willingness to bear bulk of the cost would also place it in a position to decide on the alignment, tendering process and appointment of the contracting firms/consultants, instead of the National Highway Authority of India, senior officials confirmed.
PWD Minister Ramkrishna Dhavalikar recently announced that Goa had sought permission of the National Highway Authorities of India to restart the project on a 60:40 cost sharing basis. The project is now estimated to be in the region of Rs 5000 crore, he said.
It may be recalled the NHAI had pulled out of and cancelled the project in August 2011, following a series of problems and agitations over land acquisition. The Patradevi to Pollem NH17 project went through a series of hoops, which saw the width reduced from 60 metres to 45 metres.
The Build-Operate-Transfer (Toll) project under NHDP Phase III had been awarded to the Hyderabad based M/s IVRCL in May 2010 and was to be completed in 36 months at a cost of Rs 1872 crore. Three hundred and ten (310 ha) hectares of land were to be acquired for the entire length, which included a parallel bridge over the Zuari, bridges over Galgibag and Talpona,
besides two minor bridges. But decades of illegal permissions/constructions onto the highway setbacks in urban areas led to an impasse, stalling the project during the previous regime.
Congress MP Naik blames this on the BJP. “Although there were bonafide problems of alignment, it could have been solved amicably. But the BJP saw to it that people were instigated and the problem festered”, he said.
PWD Principal Engineer J S Rego told Herald, 80% of land acquisitions had been complete and handed over to NHAI. In a bid to restart the project, the PWD less than 2 months back wrote to NHAI offering to complete the same on a 60:40 cost sharing basis. If an NHAI NOC comes through, a project consultant would be appointed for estimates that would have to go to the Finance department and ultimately the State cabinet.
There are those however, including MP Shantaram Naik, who feel the new government should offer to clear the remainder 20% of land acquisitions, and allow Central authorities to fund and complete the project. “There is no need for the State government to pay the money. All it needs to do is solve the setback problem”, said Naik.