Soil Crisis Hits National Highway Projects In Tamil Nadu, Officials Say Most Works Will Have To Be Foreclosed Due To State Government Apathy

Snapshot

Highway construction companies working in Tamil Nadu have flagged non-availability of soil, raw material and delay in land acquisition and obtaining other permissions for building the national highways in the state.

Currently, 24 NH projects are under development in the state and the progress in almost all cases is unsatisfactory.

 

Facing a barrage of problems including availability of soil for road building, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry will be left with no other option but to foreclose all national highway projects in Tamil Nadu, a top ministry official has warned.

Highway construction companies working in Tamil Nadu have flagged non-availability of soil, raw material and delay in land acquisition and obtaining other permissions for building the national highways in the state. Procurement of soil is key to road building and its non-availability is posing a serious problem for builders in the state, said the Ministry official.

The issues were raised by the highway builders at a recent meeting, which was chaired by Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.
Highways secretary Giridhar Aramane also attended the meeting where contractors lamented that they are staring at the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) imposing penalties on them for little progress in projects.

“They asked how they can build roads when they don’t get soil as state agencies are not giving permission and when they don’t get statutory permission from the state government authorities such as the Hill Area Conservation Authority and water resources department. Not even one project has achieved more than 50 per cent progress due to these problems. How can we work if we don’t get support from the state government? We may have no option but to foreclose all ongoing NHAI projects,” asked an official who attended the meeting.

Currently, 24 NH projects are under development in the state and the progress in almost all cases is unsatisfactory. The NHAI has not yet been able to give the “appointed date” for eight projects, which have already been awarded to private players.

“The Bengaluru-Chennai highway project is caught up because of these problems. While the structure of a flyover is ready on NH-45, we can’t complete the reinforced earth wall (RE Wall) as no earth is available,” said an NHAI official.

Sources said though the state government has amended an order that authorised collectors to give permission for excavating earth for 1-3 years instead of the earlier norm of only three months, this is not being implemented.

According to a developer, it has complicated the problem. The processes are very lengthy and you just keep shuttling from one office to another.