Replying to a debate on the calling attention notice about the upgradation of the National Highway number 17 on the Mumbai-Goa road, Bhujbal said the Centre has refused permission for the acquisition of forest land at Karnala bird sanctuary in Raigad district.
"The issue came up for discussions with the Central government officials since they are not ready to allow the forest land for widening of the road. So, we suggested hat a tunnel be constructed instead and the proposal is under consideration," Bhujbal told the House.
He said the government is planning to upgrade the highway into four lane and a feasibility report of the Indapur-Zarap area, a narrow section, which has seen several accidents in the past few years due to ups, downs, turns resulting in accidents due to overtaking, has been received.
The final report of four laning of this section through privatisation, is expected end of this month or May and then will be submitted to the Centre for approval.
The government is trying to acquisition of forest land as well, he said adding that the process of calling for tenders will take another year.
The four laning of Zarap-Patradevi section is underway and is expected to be completed in 2012.
Bhujbal hoped that after the four laning is completed, the incidence of accidents on the highway would be drastically reduced.
He said trauma centres at Mahad, Sangameshwar is under consideration while a civil hospital in Ratnagiri will also come up soon.
Responding to demands by Subhash Desai (Shiv Sena) for a trauma centre in Raigad district, he said the government will look into the issue.The minister said there were a total of 2,657 accidents on the highway in the last two years out of which 597 persons had lost their lives.