Kerala has every reason to cheer about over 6.8 km-long NH bypass commissioned on Thursday, which was the realisation of a half-century-old proposal.
The bypass along the NH-66 at Alappuzha is also the first NH bypass in the state to have a 3.2-km-long flyover passing along the beach, which would become a tourist attraction apart from bringing relief to Alappuzha town from the traffic bottlenecks.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari jointly inaugurated the Rs 350 crore bypass on Thursday through video conferencing.
The state witnessed a political row over the bypass with the CPM-led Left Democratic Front and Congress-led United Democratic Front staking claims for the completion of the bypass and criticising each other over the delay. The BJP is staking claims over the completion of the project as half of the cost was met by the Centre.
The proposal for the bypass came up in the 1970s and the construction was initially inaugurated in 1990. But the project got delayed owing to delay in the completion of railway over-bridge along the stretch and delay in land acquisition.
The government invited the high court's criticism over the project dragging for decades. Finally, the Centre and state decided to take it forward as a joint project in 2012 and a revised estimate of Rs 350 crore was approved.