Land, green issues hold up North-South Corridor in state
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The 318-km UP section of the 4,000-km North-South Corridor project, which will link Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir with Kochi in Kerala, has been languishing because of environmental issues, Centre-state differences and encroachments. The problem areas are the Jhansi-Lalitpur stretch and the Agra bypass.
In reply to an RTI application, the UP regional office of NHAI has informed that the Jhansi-Lalitpur section of the corridor is still incomplete although the deadline was September 2009. Of the total 49.7km stretch, 44.52 km road has been constructed, but the development of remaining 5 km road on the border of UP and Madhya Pradesh is stuck because the land is not available with NHAI.
An official associated with the project said that nearly 4.5 km stretch of that 5-km road near Tikamgarh falls in the forest area of UP where as remaining 500 metres fall in the forest land of Madhya Pradesh. Officials said that the Ministry of Environment and Forests had given clearance for construction.
"Now the problem is that the UP government has given clearance for the 4.5 km road construction but with a condition that land would be provided on lease and NHAI will have to pay the lease rent. That is not acceptable and hence the matter is again pending with higher authorities of both UP government and NHAI," said an official.
As for the Madhya Pradesh government, it is getting a study conducted by its Jabalpur Forest Research Institute regarding the impact of the road construction on the flora and fauna of the area. "Construction in MP's would be started after getting a final approval from the government there," said the official.
In Agra bypass, which is 32.8 km long, the problem is that a 9 km stretch is under encroachments. The land falls in Sadar and Kirawali tehsils of Agra district. NHAI officials said land has been transferred on paper, but NHAI has yet to get physical possession.
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