Karnataka-Kerala inter-state road gets environment ministry nod

The road linking Sullia and Bandadka when completed, would help a large number of people

Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has given clearance to construct an Inter-state road connecting Karnataka and Kerala from Sullia to Bandadka in Kasargod.

The proposed road passes through the Karnataka-Kerala border of Aletty-Kolchar-Kanakur forest area comprising 1.35 hectares with 7.5 meter width. It was the Karnataka Government which approached the Union Environment Ministry in March 2012 seeking clearance for the road as it passes through forests coming under Central Environment Ministry. The Karnataka government sought permission for acquiring 1.98 hectare forest land to build a 11 meter width road. Later, an inspection was carried out along the proposed route in September 2012 and officials from Environment Ministry decided to cut short the area of acquisition to 1.35 hectare with a width of 7.5 meter.

Compensatory afforestation

In a letter to Principal Secretary to Government of Karnataka, Forest, Ecology and Environment department, dated December 19, 2012, Deputy Conservator of Forests (Central) N S Murali had asked Karnataka Government to identify suitable equivalent non forest land for compensatory afforestation for the road project and the same shall be transferred to Forest department. Also, he had urged the State government to hand over the net present value of the proposed acquired land along with cost of compensatory afforestation to the Centre. Acting upon this, the Karnataka government has given Rs 18,18,450  to the Centre on behalf of State Public Works Department who is overlooking the construction of the road. Sources in PWD said that the government has already earmarked the land for compensatory afforestation purpose.

Waiting for final approval

But the announcement of assembly election in Karnataka came as a hindrance to the follow up actions of the much awaited inter-state road. Now, since the elections are over and new government is set to sworn in, people across Karnataka-Kerala border are eagerly awaiting the Center’s final approval for the project.

The Karnataka government now has to inform the Centre on the initiatives it had taken up according to Union Environment Ministry’s recommendation and then after can expect the final approval for the road, said a source in Kerala forest department.

“As Sullia- Bandadka road is a long pending demand put forth by people of both the states, it will become a dream come true for us,” said P Sundar, member of Bandadka- Sullia Road development committee, an organisation which has been in the forefront fighting for the road. “Once the road becomes a reality, we hope the traffic problems faced by the migratory population in Sullia will be solved,” he told Deccan Herald.

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