Saturday, May 08, 2010

YourSpeak on the Highway Widening issue

The development of the NH-47, or rather the lack of it, seems to have roused a lot of passion, if one is to go by the number of comments that the original post received - 34 till date!

I have been stuck with a few other things lately and have been traveling a bit over the last few days, so I have not been able to reply to your views. Apologies for that, folks. So here goes.

First of all, thanks for all your support, feedback and criticism. I will try and reply to as many comments as possible.

Anonymous said... There is no plan for 45m road. Road will be 30m, but they need land of 45m. Don't get mislead with politician like silver spoon baby. 

Nope, the main carriageway (4-lane) would be itself about 20 m wide with that going up to 28 m when we consider 6-lanes, which is urgently needed. Once we consider the service lanes (7 m on each side), footpaths and utility corridors (for pipelines and cables), we reach the 45 m mark.

Vinod said... Ajay, eviction required for 45m highway would be like this. Total affected would be 11283 persons. If we breakup, 5111 houses, 5643 business establishments, 187 tabernacles and 342 historic monuments. In this some are fully and some partly affected. Can’t the govt. do this for us and for future generations? 

Vinod - This list, probably sourced from the DPR, does not discriminate between those who will be displaced (total or near-total loss of built-up property and land) and those who will just be affected (minor demolition or partial loss of land). The former need to be compensated fairly while the latter may even benefit from getting better business or having their property appreciate, which is usually the case when a road is widened, as is evident from the TCRIP project in Trivandrum. Has a real social audit of how many of the affected folks actually oppose widening been taken? A lot of people affected by TCRIP voluntarily gave up their land, and that was in the heart of Trivandrum city, where land is most precious!

Robin said... The problem here is the cost Govt pays for Land, they pay only Rs 30 K/cent when the prevaling rates are Rs 3 L. This is the about people who lost land for NH in Thrissur region (60 M aquired) May the govt provide at least Half the Land, Pref on NH side for the people who surrender Land.

Robin, an effective Compensation & Rehabilitation policy has to be worked out by the State and Central Governments instead of forsaking highway development. Usually, the compensation package is worked out by a committee in consultation with the public. One also should not compare pre-widening land rates with those post-widening.

Unni said... My point is, of course we need better roads, but not just expanding the current one. Why not build a highway above our railway line from mangalore to Thiruvananthapuram. There are examples in the world where they built superfast highways on concrete pillars. 

Unni, an elevated highway is prohibitively expensive - five to eight times more than an ordinary one. Moreover, can you imagine constructing a highway above the rail line when even the construction of a few road overbridges has been hanging fire for over a decade. Imaginative but not practical, I am afraid.

Unni said... Also, some one quoted the numbers of evicted person doesn't make sense to me. I have traveled quite a bit from Payyanur to Calicut many many times. Let us do a rough calculation..The length of the high way is roughly around 130 km. On an average I assume that there are 2 buildings per 100 m. This is again average and this could be much more dense in town areas and little bit smaller in other areas. However it is really hard to find places where are there are no buildings within a span of 100m. Therefore I would assume at the very least there are 2 builds per 100 m on an average. Each building is connected to atleast ~ 5 person. I think this is roughly on the lower side. If you do the math, ~ 13000 people will be effected in 130km stretch. Assume the total highway is around 600 km, the total number of people affected is going to be roughly 6 lakhs.

Okay, let's do the math. 2 buildings per 100 m = 20 per Km = 100 people per Km = 13000 over 130 Km and about 60,000 for 600 Km of NH-47 and NH-17, NOT 600,000! A full order of magnitude less! And less than the population of most municipal towns in Kerala.

Let's also consider that of these buildings, many will not need to be demolished because they are set well back from the highway. In fact, there is a rule saying that any building can only be built at least 7.5 from the edge of the existing RoW.


  1. awesome comments and replies my dear friends.. i dont ve nything much to say .. we just need roads of good quality (min 6 lanes now) or else kerala is going to get its piston seized.. at that point of time.,. it will costs us a lot more than imaginable... i love travelling in tamilnadu and i love the TN government, they may be culprits or big frauds.. but they compete with each other for improving the ordinary peoples life..i want all people to take a look at chennai city, its infrastructure is unbelievable and the city is developing and changing each day, the rulers there compete to make the infrastructure the best.. they may loot money but they also do the things...

  2. most of the roads needs to provide dividers
    in the city areas like attingal, kottiyam, karunagappally need to provide extra roads or fly overs so that without touchig the city vehicles can drive.
    need to widen the roads 45 metres whereever land available. else will look later.
    as we paying xxxxxx taxes to govt they must check out the annual increase in vehicle registrations. every year number of vehicles is increasing and roads are not devoloping like that.
    infrastructure and roads will proove how a place can develop.
    I am a diploma engineer in automobile and i have gone through transportation management also. presently working in dubai and abudhabi. authorities of kerala must see the roads and interchanges in dubai. even many places doesnt have enough space for developing roads but they built multi level roads and tunnels, carefully designed interchanges, fly overs, underpassed, overbridges, turnovers, dividers, express highways, bye roads, feeder buses, metro rails etcc.. everything have a perfection.
    we cannot fight for land to develop roads, at the same way we can provide alternative ways to reduce traffic and will look for a trafficless tomorrow.
    for more queries mail to me at
    good luck to kerala roads

  3. hi ajay,

    sorry for missing your posts on the NH widening. very interesting. was in tvm till y'day and saw the debate in some papers. i posted something quickly (is it provocative??), more to flag off some issues.
    go thro when u get time


  4. I felt really sad when i heard abt reducing the width to 30m, sad that we had elected such people who are so short sighted.
    According to me we should go for a 60 m wide NH than going for 45m/30m and then there is no need of any express highways. The benifits of 60m road are
    1. for travellers - uninterrupted smoothflowing high spped travel.
    2. for land owners - although they stand to loose some land now
    (a)they dont need to fear for a road widening for a very long time as 60m road has the space for accomodating future lanes.
    (b)wont loose any land for gas pipelines and other utilities in future.
    (c)appreciation of value of land would be very high as people know abt 2(a) and 2(b)
    3. For government - compensation and resettlement of people who loose land for the road would be less expensive and less tedious now compared to doing the same in future.
    4. Investors and Industries - The wide roads will act as a catalyst to bring in Industries and Investors.

    Although there can be resistance from people who loose land, government should compensate them highly (may be the rate higher than market price, jobs for a person in family and so on...still it would be worth).

    About environmental concern, i think it will be less harmful to the environment compared to building another new road (express highway) in future.


Thanks for your comment, I will take a look at it and put it up at the earliest.