Mukkola-Karode bypass work likely to get delayed

01 May 2022

The standoff between the Geology and Mining Department and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for excavating soil from a quarry at Perumkadavila in the district, to fill the remaining portions of the Mukkola-Karode national highway (NH) 66 bypass stretch is likely to delay the commissioning of the road.

The NHAI had promised that the road would be commissioned in August earlier. The delay from the geology department may prompt Larsen & Toubro (L&T) to withdraw from the construction work as it did in the Kanyakumari district earlier. Only 1.2 km of the 16.3 km stretch is remaining for construction. This stretch will be the first concrete national highway in the state.

NHAI project director P Pradeep told the media that the works are nearing fulfilment. At this stage, the geology department has reviewed and asked to stop the excavation citing mining rules. Now, authority is in shortage of soil, which is concerning the pending works in the Punnakulam and Thirupuram areas.

He said that the contractor of the project L&T can go forward with the work only if the geology department consents. NHAI approached the geology department to clear the file, but the approval is not yet received. Again the work will be delayed as the monsoon season will start soon.

Earlier, the geology and mining department had issued a stop memo to the NHAI to stop work after 5 pm. This had slowed down the construction work on 1.2 km of the total 16.3 km stretch at Kottukal and Thirupuram. The NH 66 bypass construction work has also been halted midway due to the soil or red earth's unavailability.

A top official of the geology department told the media that the department could not give consent for excavation owing to rules.

The official said that permits were given earlier. We are going by the rules. Currently, two houses and a building is located around the quarry where the excavation is taking place. So the NHAI or the contractor must get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Irrigation department. Otherwise, they need to excavate at different places after stopping excavation at the present place.

The original deadline for the first concrete road completion in the state was May 31 last year. The deadline was changed several times owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Also read: Govt targets 18,000 km highway construction in FY23

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