Land acquisition, planting of saplings delay works on 2 NHs in Vellore

Two National Highway projects face two different hurdles. While one is held up due to land issues, the other waits for planting of saplings to be completed to on the stretch to replace those cut down to widen the road.
Land acquisition, planting of saplings delay works on 2 NHs in Vellore
Trees on the Villupuram-Mangalore National Highway, which were mowed down by earth-movers to extend the road

Vellore

The State Highways Department has asked the Forest Department to raise nurseries of various tree species to be planted on road sides, once the 56-km stretch of the Rs 108-crore Villupuram-Mangalore National Highway is completed in a year’s time, officialsources revealed.

The sources said the highway would be of two lanes with the 7-metre road being widened by one-and-a-half-metres on either side (thus totaling 10 metres). This was revealed after the nature lovers and naturalists condemned the largescale uprooting of more than 70-year-old trees for road widening.

“The stretch between Katpadi junction and the district border, especially from TT Mottur village near Pernambut, is strewn with trees being uprooted with earth- movers and then being cut to pieces with chainsaws,” a local nature lover said on conditionof anonymity.

When asked about this, officials said, “Once the project is completed, saplings grown in the Forest Department nurseries will be planted on either side of the road in all locations from where the existing trees were uprooted.”

Meanwhile, problems with acquiring land have resulted in the toll plaza near Kannamangalam being incomplete on the recently-completed National Highway 38, connecting Vellore and Tiruvannamalai, the officials said. “This was because the person who gave the land raised issues, which we are trying to solve at the earliest,” the officials added.

“Though the toll plaza at Tiruvannamalai is complete, it, along with the other at Kannamangalam, will become operational only after publication in the Tamil Nadu government gazette. Hence, we are working to ensure that the aggrieved land owner does not go to court as it will delay the project indefinitely,” the officials averred.

The delay in converting the Vellore–Tiruvannamalai stretch on this highway into a toll road some months ago has gladdened the bus operators, who otherwise might have to pay toll which “will affect our earnings”, according to an operator running buseson this stretch.

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