With the Centre and State government not yet finalizing the alignment for the proposed expansion of National Highway 17, the land acquisition proceedings that were initiated lapsed on Monday thereby delaying the expansion plans.
Notification under Section 3-A to acquire nearly 18 lakh square metres of land along the highway from Patradevi in Pernem to Polem in Canacona was published on 5th April last year and notification under Section 3-D had to be published by 4th April for the process to continue.
However, following objections from the public to the expansion plans, the governments sought to re-align the route to protest houses and other structures and as the re-alignment is not yet agreed upon, the time period to publish the notification under Section 3-D has passed.
According to PWD Minister Churchill Alemao, the fault lies with the Centre that has not yet responded to the new alignment agreed upon by the State government’s Public Works Department and Centre’s National Highway Authority of India.
Churchill reiterated that the State government is determined that the NH-17 alignment should adhere to the House Committee recommendations and be as per the joint report submitted by PWD and NHAI.
One of the reasons attributed for the present situation is the fact that the Central minister for Surface Transport was changed in the last cabinet reshuffle and the incumbent P C Joshi is yet to respond not only to the joint inspection report but also the personal visit by Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and Churchill Alemao soon after he took charge of the department.