Kerala Road Fund Board to ‘revalidate’ Kochi projects
The road corridor projects of Kochi are being “revalidated” to accommodate the changing infrastructure demands of the city.
It was nearly seven years ago that the proposal for setting up several road corridors was mooted by the Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB). Since then, the city has undergone rapid development in infrastructure segment and is all set to have a metro rail system.
“The changes that have taken place in the city demands the revalidation of the earlier projects. Some new projects may have to be included and some others dropped. Some others need to be modified considering the city-specific situations, ” said an official of the KFRB.
Moreover, the increased cost for land acquisition has also made the authorities rethink on the proposals in the city. Going by the original proposal, it would require at least Rs.1000 crore for acquiring land. In some cases, the land acquisition costs went up to seven times of the total project implementation cost. The Finance Department had raised some objections to the demand for such a huge amount, he said.
Mayor slams Board
Incidentally, Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany had lashed out against the Board the other day for not taking up the road development projects in the city. He was critical of the Board, which he said, had completed most of its projects in Thiruvananthapuram and was in the process of implementing some schemes in Kozhikode.
There were severe opposition to a number of projects at local levels. The public resistance went to the extent of local residents manhandling some of the research team members. These circumstances too forced the authorities to revisit the proposals and make some compromises, he said. The Board is in the process of evaluating the technical bids of agencies which have responded to a proposal for revalidating the process.
The selected agency will be asked to complete the process within six months. It will also be asked to look into the additional requirements besides reshaping some of the existing proposals.
Though it was suggested to implement as many as 17 projects in the city, the numbers would come down drastically as agencies like the Public Works Department and the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation had taken up some projects including the Sahodaran Ayyappan Road and the MG Road, he pointed out.
The Board is implementing the projects on Build Operate and Transfer mode where the builder will manage and maintain the roads for 15 years. There will be no toll collection. Instead, the government will pay the agency an annuity every year. All the projects of the Board are being implemented in compliance with international standards and the specifications of the Indian road Congress, he said.