|With the prolonged land acquisition process in its final stage, all is set for receiving and finalising bids for the Anandapuram-Anakapalle and Sheelanagar-Sabbavaram highway projects.|
The due date for the bids for the six-lane Ananadapuram-Anakapalle highway is January 22. The 50.78-km road is proposed to be taken up with an estimated cost of ₹2,527 crore that includes ₹568 crore towards land acquisition, shifting utilities like water pipes and electric poles. The four-lane Sheelanagar-Sabbavaram road is estimated to cost ₹475.6 crore of which ₹83 crore is for land acquisition and shifting utilities.
The two projects have been proposed under hybrid annuity mode with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) investing 40 % of the cost and the agency bringing in the remaining 60%. NHAI will pay back the investment made by the agency in seventeen and half years and collects the toll.
“By March 31, we intend to finalise the agency so as to take up the work,” say sources closely associated with the projects. The project has been proposed to be taken up as a single one. But later it has been divided into two.
With the land acquisition being made according to the National Highways Act and compensation being paid as per the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Relief and Rehabilitation Act 2013, the process was a long one.
Land from a total of 40 villages involving about 4,500 farmers/owners had to be acquired. For the Anandapuram road, the land required is 245 hectares and for Sheelanagar 90 ha. Though 90 % of the land has been identified and acquisition process began with respect of one property, there is no headway, it is learnt.
While primary notification was given by NHAI in October 2016, it was followed with more in December and January and February of 2017. A Deputy Collector of land acquisition wing, has been deputed by the State government to carry forward the process.
After the notification, for a few months peg-marking of the properties according to the alignment of the road has been carried out by the NHAI authorities.
After that, identifying farmers and properties letters have been issued to farmers and draft declaration has been issued by the Deputy Collector calling for objections. However, of the 4,500 farmers, only 3,700 are available.
Now draft award enquiry notification has also been given and 425 rival claims received. There are some court cases too.
“We are still receiving claims and objections and about 400 to 500 farmers are yet to come into contact,” says A. Subba Raju, Deputy Collector, Land Acquisition.
Presently, the horticulture, forest and R&B officials are valuating the trees in the land marked for acquisition. “Once the reports are ready, payment to farmers will be made,” says the Deputy Collector.