State optimistic about high-speed corridor

Infrastructure facilities such as world-class roads were a pre-requisite for development, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy here on Wednesday.

Inaugurating ‘Perspective', a two-day seminar on modernisation and road safety initiatives in public works organised by the Public Works Department in association with the Kesari Memorial Journalists' Trust, Mr. Chandy said though the State had given top priority to education and health, it had ignored infrastructure. He said the government was trying to overcome it and had accorded top priority to infrastructure sector.

The Chief Minister said he was optimistic about the proposed Rs.1.20-lakh high-speed corridor from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod. The Union government was also positive about the project and the attempt was to get loans on low interest to implement the project. The arrival of Kochi Metro and Monorails in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapruam would change the transport scenario in the State, he said.

Pointing out that Mentor to the State government Sam Pitroda had listed development of coastal transport as the first priority in the 10-point agenda, Mr. Chandy said the State would have to tap the potential of the coast and make use of small and big ports.

Getting land and timely completion of the projects was a major problem, he said.

The Chief Minister said the government was trying to overcome the hurdle of acquiring land by coming out with packages and offering incentives. He said the State should adapt to changes. “Toll was being opposed by those who had opposed computers in the State. The world was changing, India was changing, but not Kerala,” he added.

Pointing out that the State had only four-lane stretch from Aroor to Mannuthy, Mr. Chandy said the State could not develop roads with its own resources as it would lead us backwards. The CIAL model was good for the State and the PPP and BOT concept should be adopted.

The Chief Minister said politicians and trade union leaders should be sent to China to study the developments there. “If in China, why not in Kerala”, he wondered. A practical approach was needed as the State could not suffer losses anymore. A joint effort was needed for road development and infrastructure creation, he said.

The Chief Minister released the PWD Manual by handing over a copy to Minister for Public Works V.K. Ebrahim Kunju. Minister for Industries and IT P.K. Kunhalikutty inaugurated the e-payment system in PWD and Minister for Revenue Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan released the in-house journal ‘Rajaveedhi' of the PWD by handing over a copy to Principal Secretary, PWD, P.H. Kurien.

Minster for Water Resources P.J. Joseph said a six-lane North-South highway should be developed, a high-speed corridor from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and the waterway from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod should be declared as national waterway with a width of 32 metres. Mr. Joseph said his department had given priority to development of the waterway. K.C. Shashidhar, Chief General Manager (CGM) Nabard; M.C. Jacob, CGM, State Bank of Travancore; and Siby Kattampally of the Trust; were among those who spoke.