The Union government has granted in-principle approval for the diversion of 17.263 hectares of forest land to construct twin tunnels with four-lane approach roads via Anakkampoyil, Kalladi, and Meppadi, connecting Kozhikode and Wayanad in Kerala. The approval comes with certain conditions, including the transfer of an equivalent extent of non-forest land for compensatory afforestation in various survey numbers of Koolivayal, Chullikad, Madaparambu, and Manalvayal of Wayanad to the forest department.
The non-forest land for compensatory afforestation will be notified as reserve forest by the government before the stage-two clearance. The in-principle approval will be valid for five years, and the proposal will be considered for final approval after the state forest department submits a compliance report on fulfilling the conditions.
The aim of the tunnel road is to provide direct connectivity between Anakkampoyil-Kalladi-Meppadi Road in Kozhikode and Wayanad South division and reduce traffic congestion on Thamarassery Ghat Road, which currently has nine hairpin bends over a length of 12km, according to the social impact assessment report of the project.
The Union government has granted the stage-one clearance based on the approval of a regional empowered committee and examination of the proposal of the state government. The forest land will be handed over to the state forest department only after complying with the set of riders laid down by the Centre.