New Delhi: The Centre yesterday approved a Rs.2,920-crore project for widening a section of National Highway-275 connecting Bengaluru and Mysuru.

“The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval for six-laning of Nidagatta-Mysuru Section of NH-275 from km 74.2 to km 135.3 on Hybrid Annuity Mode in Karnataka,” Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said in a statement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for the project next month, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said. The project, once completed, is expected to cut travel time between Bengaluru and Mysuru to 90 minutes.

The six-laning of about 61 km is estimated to cost approximately Rs. 2,919.81 crore including the cost of land acquisition and pre-construction activities. The civil construction cost is about Rs. 2,028.93 crore.

The statement said the project would also provide employment opportunities to locals during project construction. “With the widening and improvement of the highway, the areas would experience greater economic growth resulting in higher employment opportunities for locals. An employment potential of approximately 2,48,000 ‘man days’ will be generated locally during the construction period of the stretch,” it said.

The section connects Bengaluru and Mysuru and also links important places like Mangaluru, Kodagu, parts of Kerala, etc. to Bengaluru.

The existing four-lane road, passing through congested and thickly populated towns and settlements like Maddur, Mandya and Srirangapatna, etc. has already crossed its capacity, resulting in traffic jams and accidents, the statement said.

The upgradation to 6-lane along with service roads on each side and construction of bypasses at Maddur, Mandya and Srirangapatna and grade-separated structures of this stretch of the National Highway will greatly reduce the time and cost of travel, particularly of heavy traffic plying in the region.

It may be mentioned here in December last year, the government (Public Works Department) had announced that the widening work will start in January 2018.

Mysuru District Minister Dr. H.C. Mahadevappa had met Gadkari in New Delhi in December 2017 and had sought in-principle approval for the project. Gadkari had then approved the project and had also assured speedy allocation of funds for the project, especially towards compensation against land acquired.

TWO-PHASE WORK

According to PWD officials, the work will be executed in two phases — Bengaluru-Nidagatta (56.2 km) and Nidagatta-Mysuru (64.14 km). There will be 50:50 cost-sharing formula between Centre and State for the project.

Officials had said that the six-lane road with two service lanes will have multiple toll collection booths. While the six-lane road would be a toll road, the service roads along the highway will not have any toll, they had said.

Toll booths will be set up at Bidadi, Ramanagaram, Channapatna, Maddur, Mandya and Srirangapatna. Users will have  to pay only for the distance travelled rather than paying for the entire stretch.

MODI MAKES ANNOUNCEMENT

It may be recalled here that while commissioning the electrification of the Railway line between Mysuru and Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna (KSR) Railway Station in Bengaluru on Feb.19, Prime Minster Narendra Modi also announced that a six-lane National Highway will be built between Mysuru and Bengaluru.

“This project is worth more than Rs.6,000 crore and once implemented, the double track electrification, Satellite Station at Naganahalli and the National Highway will revolutionise travel between the two cities,” he had said.

MP LAUDS PM

Reacting to the approval for the project provided by Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by PM Modi, Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha said that the project has been speedily cleared by the Centre. “PM Modi made an announcement on Monday (Feb.19) and the CCEA approved the project in just one day,” he said.

Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said that the 6-lane project was delayed owing to several complications.

“There were several issues, including land acquisition problems. The project was with the State Government and then transferred to the Centre. I will take it to the Cabinet for approval soon. We have received bids and they are under evaluation,” the Minister said.

The tender process was deferred after every deadline as land acquisition for the project did not reach the necessary threshold to merit Cabinet clearance. Gadkari also said the Centre will invest Rs.1,44,922 crore in the State in the next two years with Rs.85,000 crore earmarked for 41 works under the Bharatmala Project.