The state government has succeeded in getting a new national highway between Anantapur and Guntur.
The Centre has stamped its nod for the revised designs proposed by the state government to take up the 417-km long NH on different stretches. The national highway, 544-D, will be constructed at a cost of 9,000 crore.
Previously, the TDP government had proposed to take up a greenfield six-lane highway between Anantapur-Amaravati at a cost of 32,000 crore. However, the project was shelved after YSRC came to power, following the objections from the forest department.
The state government found that it was a herculean task to get clearances to acquire nearly 3,000 acres of land from Union forest and environment ministry as it was proposed to pass through the Nallamala Tiger Reserve.
Besides, the government had to acquire and allocate almost double the land to the forest department as compensation in addition to monetary grant to raise new forest. Senior officials advised that it would consume several years of time in getting clearances, and was not wise to spend huge monies only for land acquisition in the present situation.
Subsequently, the state government dropped the plans and requested the Centre to cancel the Amaravati-Anantapur project. It, however, requested the Centre to grant separate national highways to improve the connectivity between Rayalaseema and Amaravati region. The state government, which had already got Bengaluru-Kadapa-Vijayawada highway cleared, has now got another NH between Anantapur and Guntur. The proposed Anantapur-Guntur highway designs have been readied by taking the ongoing national highways enroute into consideration. The proposed NH will link existing NHs and develop remaining stretches into four-lane highway.
“Union surface transport and highways ministry has cleared the new NH between Anantapur and Guntur and started inviting bids to launch the works. We are gearing up to kickstart the works by January,” said a senior NHAI official.