‘Mode of payment of 25% cost to NHAI yet to be decided’
The Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) will provide 25% cost of the remaining land to be acquired for the four/six-laning of the National Highway 66 corridor from Kasaragod on the Kerala-Karnataka border to Karode in the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border in the capital.
The 36th board meeting of the KIIFB chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here on Tuesday decided to make available the estimated ₹5,200 crore, the 25% cost of the remaining land to be acquired in the State for the NH development.
The ₹5,200 crore will be made available from the ₹14,000 crore earmarked by the KIIFB for land acquisition for the development projects funded by it.
Finance Minister and Vice-Chairman of KIIFB T.M. Thomas Isaac said it was yet to be decided on the mode of payment of the 25% cost to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) that is executing the four/six-laning project.
“The KIIFB funding will help initiate the much delayed NH development from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram. We are hopeful that the NHAI will expedite the project,” the Finance Minister told media persons after the board meeting.
The decision of the KIIFB comes close on the heels of the Chief Minister informing the Centre the State’s willingness.
Cost of land acquisition
The Centre had sought 50% cost of the land to be acquired in view of the prohibitive cost of land acquisition in Kerala compared to other States in the country and in view of the resource crunch faced by the NHAI.
Mr. Vijayan had informed Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on July 30 in New Delhi that the State was ready to give 25% share.
The ₹5,200 crore is the 25% share for the 1,176 hectares of land to be acquired in the State at a cost of ₹21,000 crore for the development of the NH that is to have a Right of Way of 45 m.
High Priority-I list
Recently, the State was also able to overcome the confusion over the inclusion of the four/six-laning of NH 66 in the State in the High Priority-I list.
The proceedings to acquire 1,111 hectares of land for NH 66 widening was in an advanced stage.
Of the 1,111 hectares for 14 corridors, 3A notification under the NH Act, 1956 had been completed for 982 hectares, 3D notification was in progress for 760 hectares and 3G notification was in progress for 113 hectares.
On health projects
Dr. Isaac said the Karunya Arogya Suraksha Paddhati (KASP) that had replaced the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) in the State was going on well and there were no complaints.
“The Health Department will look into if any specific instances are pointed out,” he said. Dr. Isaac said the government had no plans to withdraw the flood cess as demanded by traders in view of the floods and landslips in the State again.
The economy of the State had been hit as the expenses had gone up and the revenue collection was coming down.
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