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Tamil Nadu takes priority route to road projects

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In order to identify and prioritise the roads for improvements, the Highways department of Tamil Nadu has taken up a strategic option study under the aegis of Tamil Nadu Road Sector Project (TNRSP).

It has appointed Indian Institute of Technology - Madras as the project consultant, and would decide on the aid from World Bank and other agencies on the basis of its feasibility report.

The cost of the road improvement project is pegged at Rs 5,000 crore, according to a policy note on roads, bridges, minor ports and shipping issued by the state Highways and Minor Ports department.

It has identified a set of projects for future implementation, and prepared a list of roads for improvements in the near future on priority basis. Around 2,500 kilometres of state highways and major district roads has been selected after the study for the first phase of improvement programme.

“This method of selection of list of roads for upgradation shall be adopted henceforth,” added the note submitted by the Minister for Highways and Minor Ports, Government of Tamil Nadu, Edappadi K Palaniswami.

The department is currently carrying out various projects including construction of pavements, road over-bridges (ROB) and road under-bridges (RUB), grade separators and river bridges at a cost of around Rs 4,900 crore.

The works include 52 ROBs or RUBs, at a cost of Rs 1,198.12 crore, for which the state government and the Union ministry of Railways share the cost equally. This is part of its plans to set up a total of 160 ROBs or RUBs at a cost of Rs 3,356.72 crore, out of which, 41 works have been completed at a cost of Rs 567.98 crore.

The works include strengthening and improvement works of 1,936 km roads at a cost of Rs 1,515 crore, setting up of eight grade separators sanctioned for Rs 475.45 crore, 361 river bridges at a cost of Rs 798 crore and widening of 1,154 km roads at a cost of Rs 954 crore -- all of which are under progress.

The department has also constructed 68 bypasses and plans to built another 84 bypasses in the future. The works for the bypasses is carried out in two phases – first phase of land acquisition and second phase of formation of road works.

Besides, the department is also in the process of implementing various schemes including the Comprehensive Road Infrastructure Development Programme (CRIDP), under which, infrastructure development like widening and improvement of roads, construction of bridges, culverts, formation of bypasses in a comprehensive manner are undertaken. Under the scheme, 1,002 road works and 225 bridge works at a cost of Rs 1,167.45 crore are in progress.

Around 139 roads and 22 bridges or culverts would be set up this year to improve other district roads connecting villages, at a cost of Rs 138.09 crore. Renewal and maintenance of roads and bridges are carried out as per IRC norms under non-plan maintenance fund.

Under this scheme, during the current year, 1990 road maintenance works for Rs 293.52 crore are in progress. Further, new works to a tune of Rs 462.26 crore would be taken up, added the policy note.

PLANS LAND POOLING FOR ROAD INFRA
The Tamil Nadu government is planning to take land owners as co-opted partners in the development projects, through land pooling system, as part of addressing the land related issues during development of road infrastructure in the state.

The government has found the projects getting delayed due to the difficulty in acquiring land for widening of roads and constructing bypasses since the land owners are reluctant to part with their lands. Through the land pooling scheme, land could be pooled to form road grids and the scheme has been proved successful in some parts of the world and other states in India.

At present, the land required for infrastructure projects of Highways Department are acquired under Tamil Nadu Highways Act, 2001.

The government is in the process of acquiring or alienating around 634 hectares of private land and 300 hectares of government land from 451 villages to complete almost 201 road infrastructure projects including 62 road works, 24 river bridges, 94 ROBs or RUBs, six grade separators and 11 bypasses.

Out of 634 hectares of private land, 28 hectares have been taken possession of and acquisition of the balance lands is at various stages, according to the data available with the government.

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