For the owners/inhabitants of over 1800 structures along the national highway 17 in Goa awaiting the proverbial axe, most of such edifices may not come under the hammer after all. Wilbur Smith Associates Private Limited, who had proposed the widening of the highway to 60 metres from Patradevi in North Goa to Pollem in the South, have been advised by the National highway authority of India (NHAI) to consult the state's Public Works Department(PWD) while finalising the plans for the widening of the national highway so that there is minimum damage made to the structures under threat.
The PWD Minister Mr Churchill Alemao is learnt to have impressed upon the Union Minister of Surface transport Mr Kamal Nath to review the highway widening issue in Goa which has reportedly prompted the advice made to Wilbur Smith.Accordingly, officials of NHAI are reported to have arrived in Goa and inspected the entire route of the NH17 in the state along with representatives of Wilbur Smith to work out a better solution.
The PWD is known to have acquired different widths of land area for the widening of the highway which include 30 metres, 45 metres and 60 metres. Accordingly, now NHAI has directed Wilbur Smith to prepare separate plans for the three measurements of the acquired land stretch along the highway, i.e 30 metres, 45 metres and 60 metres. This will help NHAI to actually ascertain as to how many structures would face the axe along the highway in Goa..
The PWD Minister Mr Churchill Alemao, is reported to have expressed his disappointment over the number of structures facing demolition along the existing highway and has asked for six laning of the highway to be done only at places where land is available and alternatively restrict the rest of the highway to four laning so that minimum damage was caused to owners and inhabitants of structures along the NH 17.
Detailed plans are therefore currently being re-drawn by consultants Wilbur Smith, keeping the local considerations in mind and the same are expected to be ready by July 10 2009. The state PWD's alignment is expected to be followed in most areas by the consultants.