Work on Coastal Highway begins, DPR awaited, pink stones to mark boundary

Representational Image. Photo: Tobias Tullius/Unsplash

Thiruvananthapuram: The work on the Coastal Highway on the entire western frontier of Kerala has begun in two sections in Malappuram district. The work began in Padinjarekkara-Unniyal and Moydieen Palli-Kettungal sections, near Tanur, in the district.

The proposed 623 km Coastal Highway starts from Pozhiyoor in Thiruvananthapuram district in the south to Thalapadi in Kasaragod district in the north. The highway will run parallel to the coast of the Arabian Sea.

The notification for the land acquisition for the Coastal Highway has been issued everywhere except for two reaches in Thiruvananthapuram and one reach in Kozhikode. In some places, work orders have been given and the tendering process is progressing elsewhere. A minimum of two years will be taken to complete the land acquisition proceedings.

The compensation usually given during the land acquisition of major development projects will be given to those displaced due to the project.

The rehabilitation efforts are undertaken by the Coastal Development Corporation. The expected cost of the project is Rs 6,500 crore. 

The preparation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) is in the final stages. The State Government had accorded sanction for the alignment prepared by the NATPAC five years ago. But this alignment was changed at some places with a view to ease problems related to the land acquisition and straighten curves. In Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts, some more changes have to be made in the alignment. Now, only changed alignment in each district will be submitted to the State Government for ratification.

The Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB) is constructing 468 km of the highway. Of the remaining 155 km, the work on 120 km will be covered under the Bharatmala project being initiated by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for linking major ports and coastal areas in the country. The work on another 35 km will be part of other projects.

Why yellow stones are not used

The State Government has decided to lay pink stones instead of yellow stones for earmarking boundaries for the land acquisition for the highway.

The laying of yellow boundary stones for the SilverLine Project of the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd had earlier invited vehement public protest. But the State Government's clarification is that the yellow stones were already used for earmarking boundaries as per the Coastal Regulation Zone rules in the coastal areas and hence, in order to clear confusion, the decision was taken to lay pink stones for the Coastal Highway project.

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