Opens bridge across the Manimala at Vallamkulam

Infrastructure development, especially that of roads, is necessary for the State's progress, and the government has given top priority to it, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said.

He was inaugurating a newly constructed bridge across the Manimala river at Vallamkulam on the Thiruvalla-Kumbazha State Highway on Sunday afternoon.

Mr. Chandy said the government had made maximum possible budget allocation for infrastructure development. In addition to it, Rs.800 crore had been sanctioned to the Public Works Department (PWD) for various road development projects, he said.

He lauded the initiatives taken by Minister for Public Works V.K. Ebrahim Kunju and the PWD staff to improve roads across the State.

He said the project for heavy maintenance of various major roads leading to Sabarimala would be launched soon so that the work could be completed before the start of the next pilgrimage season.

High-speed rail corridor

Mr. Chandy said the Union government had, in principle, accepted the proposed high-speed rail corridor project between Thiruvananthapuram and Mangalore.

The corridor would help passengers cover the distance between Thiruvananthapuram and Mangalore in 2 hours and 20 minutes. It was the first time that a State government had taken the initiative to launch such a rail corridor project, he said.

Thiruvalla bypass

Mr. Chandy said the government had given priority to the proposed bypass on M.C. Road at Thiruvalla. If the second phase of the Kerala State Transport Project was delayed, the PWD would undertake the work on the bypass, after clearing certain legal issues that were in the way, so as to complete it in a time-bound manner, he said.

He asked the PWD to consider retaining the old steel bridge at Vallamkulam for small vehicles and pedestrians.

The 75-metre-long, 11.5-metre-wide new bridge has been constructed at a cost of Rs.4.5 crore in two years.

Mr. Kunju presided over the function. Minister for Water Resources P.J. Joseph delivered the keynote address.

K. Sivadasan Nair and Mathew T. Thomas, MLAs; Anto Antony, MP; Babu George, district panchayat president; Saji Chacko and Santhi P. Nair, members; T. Baburaj, PWD chief engineer; Jake Joseph, superintending engineer; John J. Elamkulam, executive engineer; Annapoornadevi, block panchayat president; T.K. Sajiv and N. Rajiv, grama panchayat presidents of Kaviyur and Eraviperoor, respectively, spoke.