The National Highways Authority of India in a recently issued statement said that they are going to drop the construction of the Enchakkal underpass. The primary objective of this construction was to widen the stretch of the national highway from Kazhakoottam to Mukkola. The residents in the area were affected with the sudden change of plans but the same was replaced with delight when NHAI claimed that they are doing so just to construct a widened junction with a systematic traffic signal system at Enchakkal.
The locals in the area issued a protest in the beginning when National Highways Authority of India announced the construction of the vehicular underpass at Enchakkal. While many may think that the project was withdrawn owing to these issues, the same was not the case. An NHAI official claimed that the project was dropped not because of the protests but because of the fund crunch that the organisation was facing.
In a detailed report, NHAI stated that they have already invested around Rs. 669 crore on the construction of the Kazhakoottam-Mukkola Indian road. Spending an additional amount of Rs. 172 crore for the construction of a flyover at Chackai was definitely not something that this autonomous organisation could bear. They mentioned that this additional cost for the flyover was caused primarily for two reasons, the first being the fact that the flyover is being constructed using special steel composite girders instead of the conventional pre-stressed concrete and the second being the extension of the flyover up till Ananthapuri Hospital.
Sources claimed that as per the stated guidelines, the cost of the widening project should not exceed the 20% of what the original expenditure was. The parliament committee needs to grant the approval for the expenditure which is still pending. Even though NHAI has asked the state government to share the expenses for the construction of the flyover, there has been no granted aid for the same.
The construction of the underpass was an additional project which was later proposed for the smoother traffic flow. But the initial proposal was not well accepted by the locals who started their protest against the construction of the VUP. A general convener of the action council, Mr Haja Nasaruddin said that NHAI stated their cancellations of the proposal in a recent meeting. He further said that they proposed the wish for the construction of the flyover and the officials have ensured that the same would be done when the funds are sufficient. Till then, NHAI is instead going to construct a signal junction at Enchakkal.
The project is still in process and no confirmation of the date of initiation of the project has been issued yet. NHAI has changed their plans in order to ensure a smoother construction and also to mitigate their lack of funds for the same. The signal junction is expected to ensure a strategised and better traffic flow at Enchakkal. They have not completely rolled out the possibility of construction of the underpass but the same will be looked into when the funds are sufficient.
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