Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari on June 12 said that most of his ministry’s projects in Goa were facing land acquisition hurdles. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) would bear the cost of hiring additional land acquisition officers in the state, he said, adding that the expanded Mumbai-Goa highway will open before March 2019, and will be made a ‘green’ one by planting trees along the highway.
“One retired person is in charge of land acquisition,” Gadkari said. “We have got to strengthen (the system). I’ve suggested that a few more retired persons be roped in because work is facing land acquisition hurdles.”
Gadkari was in Goa on a two-day visit to review the progress of work being carried out under his ministry. The total cost of the projects is over Rs 100 crore.
The Union minister also said that work on the highway from the Goa-Maharashtra border to the Goa-Karnataka border is on and will be expedited. “We are trying to complete it by March-end, except for the tunnel in Tasheri ghat, which will take time.”
He told ministers and MLAs that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and he have spoken about this work. “Many trees will be cut to widen the roads,” he said. “But now, you get ‘ready-made’ trees, which are eight or nine years old. They can be planted and the highway can be made a ‘green’ one.”
Stating that social organisations, educational institutions and NGOs could also be involved in the work, Gadkari said it was important to complete these projects on time to avoid escalation of project cost. It would also relieve people of the problems they’re currently facing due to the ongoing construction work, he added.