It might still be some time before you can zip through and enjoy seamless travel on a 4,076 km stretch of modern four-laned highway connecting Kashmir to Kanyakumari.
After overshooting its deadline, however, now the southern stretch of Rs 34,000-crore North-South (NS) corridor is slowly but steadily inching towards completion.
The southern stretch comprises 1,900 km, passes through Maharashtra and connects Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka before ending at Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. On the southern segment of the NS corridor, work on a little over 2 km stretch has been hanging in balance since 2009 as the land where the highway is to come up was embroiled in various land acquisition and environmental issues.
However, Monday saw a little respite for the road ministry’s ambitious project. The Supreme Court, where the NHAI had filed a Special Leave Petition in the
matter relating to building a bypass on a 550 metre stretch that got entangled in environmental dispute, finally cleared the project.
The litigation was related to a small stretch in Narikulam village in Kanyakumari where a bypass had to come up. The village society approached the court claiming ownership. Subsequently an environmental NGO also approached the court. As a result, work has been held up since 2009 onwards. "We are now hopeful of completing work on the stretch by end of 2013,” said a NHAI official.
Work on the NS corridorkicked off in mid-2005. Its original scheduled date of completion was 2009.
While the southern stretch is almost complete, there has been delay on the NS corridor’s northern stretch, especially in Kashmir where over 300 km stretch of highway is yet to be constructed.