Talks between the government and National Highway Diversion Action Committee (NHDAC) over the alignment of the two National Highways in the State failed on Tuesday with the government deciding to stick to the present alignment and the NHDAC demanding that the National Highways be re-aligned through the hinterland.
The meeting chaired by Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and also attended by PWD Minister Churchill Alemao failed to resolve the stand off with the government arguing that the number of demolitions due to widening of the two highways passing through Goa, were brought down from 569 to 168.
Besides reducing the width of the highways to 35 mts in thickly populated areas, the new alignment also proposes bypasses in areas like Bhoma and Corlim, pointed out Digambar Kamat.
He rued that the stand off is nothing but a political issue in what can be interpreted to be a reference to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party’s support to the NHDAC. However, one of the main objections the BJP has to the project is the levy of toll and the BJP has been demanding that Goans should not be asked to pay the toll.
Digambar Kamat also disclosed that he had assured the NHDAC that no additional land would be acquired for widening the highways and opined that for big projects some sacrifices had to be made.
The government’s decision appears to be prompted by Union Minister for Road and Surface Transport Kamal Nath’s tough talk recently where he threatened to divert the funds allotted to Goa to some other state if the land was not handed over immediately to carry on the work.