Kerala Public Works Minister P A Mohamed Riyas informed the state assembly of the crucial land acquisition process for the Thiruvananthapuram Outer Ring Road (ORR) project.
The government is planning to develop ORR as a four-lane (expandable up to six-lane) highway for a length of about 77.7 km. The state government had greenlit the construction of the road in 2019, with the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) overseeing the road construction.
This project is further bifurcated into Northern Ring (29 km) and Southern Ring (47.9 km) alignments. While the northern ring is between Navaikulam and Thekadda, the southern ring is further divided into two sections between Mangalapuram and Vizhinjam.
In the first phase, the stone laying will be done along the stretch from Vizhinjam to Navaikulam and it will be done for the Thekkada-Mangalapuram stretch in the second phase.
The state government is set to bear a financial responsibility of Rs 1,600 crore for the construction of the outer ring road, which is intricately linked with the development of the Vizhinjam Port. Per the agreement terms, the state is obligated to cover 50 per cent of the land acquisition costs, estimated at Rs 930 crore.
The liability will see an exemption of state GST amounting to Rs 211 crore, along with a royalty cost of Rs 11 crore. Additionally, Rs 477 crore is earmarked for the construction of the service road.
Despite these financial commitments, the state government has appealed to the Centre to assume the cost of the service road. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has engaged in discussions on this matter with Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari.
In a letter dated 3 August 2023, the state government formally requested the initiation of the land acquisition process for the service road. Subsequently, on 10 October, the Chief Minister held further discussions with Gadkari in New Delhi. However, the Centre maintains the position that Kerala should bear the service road's cost, reports Times Of India.
Minister Riyas stated that despite the difficulties, the project will move forward. Recognising the importance of the service road, the state government plans to revisit discussions with the Centre on sharing the financial burden. The minister affirmed that approaching the Centre once again for this matter has been decided upon.
Ring Road To Transform Thiruvananthapuram
It is a greenfield access-controlled project on the outer area of Thiruvananthapuram city on the eastern side only as the Arabian Sea is located on the western side of this coastal city.
The four-lane highway will be enhanced to six-lane highway as and when the traffic count qualifies for six-lane requirements.
This ORR is significant as it connects two major economic growth hubs ie Technopark and Technocity complex on the northern side and Vizhinjam Port complex on the southern side of Thiruvananthapuram.
Beside four lane main carriageway (expandable up to six lanes), the project includes provision of two lane service lanes on both sides and an additional two lanes for mass rapid transit systems to be built as per future need.
With the under-construction Vizhinjam International Sea Port in the southern side of Thiruvananthapuram and developments in Technocity area on the far northern side, it is expected that there shall be strong stimulus to secondary development in support service sectors such as residential, hospitality, healthcare, education and commercial developments in the surrounding region.
Therefore, ORR is necessary to upgrade the road infrastructure in these areas and also create suitable logistic hubs to cater to the parking and goods handling requirements of the port bound traffic.
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