The State Highways Department has requested the Defence Ministry to de-link the transfer of land required for the road over bridge (ROB) near the Railway Junction in Tiruchi from proposals seeking Defence lands for other infrastructure projects in the State.
The move comes in the wake of the assurance given by the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, during her recent visit to the city, that she would clear the file on the transfer of land belonging to the Ministry to enable the completion of the ROB at the earliest.
Responding to pleas of elected representatives from the city, Ms.Sitharaman had said that she was not aware of the State government offer to provide land of equal value in Kancheepuram in lieu of the Defence land. The State government had offered land of equal value in Kanchepuram in lieu of Defence lands sought for various infrastructure projects across the State, including the ROB and the airport expansion in Tiruchi. However, the Ministry is said to have sought land of equal value in Chennai city limits, leading to a stalemate.
Soon after her visit to the city, the Ministry had sought a report on the matter from the Highways Department. Subsequently, the Highways Department had forwarded a fresh proposal requesting the Ministry to de-link the transfer of land for Tiruchi ROB and grant enter upon permission immediately so that work on the construction of the pending Chennai arm of the bridge could resume. According to sources, the Highways Department had suggested that the permission be given either on accepting the monetary compensation for the small piece of land or an undertaking from the State government that land of equal value would be provided.
Collector K.Rajamani, while speaking to reporters here on Thursday, said that the State has sought the de-linking of the land transfer for the road over bridge as the extent of the land required was very less — just about 65 cents.
Highways Department sources said as per available indications the Defence authorities in Chennai have forwarded the proposal to the Defence Ministry and hoped that an early decision would be taken.
Construction of the bridge remains suspended for a couple of years pending the transfer of the Defence land. Nearly 90% of the first stage of the project has been completed but for the Chennai arm of the bridge, which needs to be connected to a new approach road to be laid across a piece of Defence land. Once the permission is given, the first stage of the bridge would be completed within three months, sources in the Highways Department said.