Technical university, to which government engineering colleges will be affiliated, planned

The government will soon frame a road policy for improving the quality and maintenance of roads, PWD Minister V.K. Ebrahim Kunju has said.

Replying to questions in the Assembly on Friday, Mr. Kunju said that new technology would be adopted for laying roads.

Re-tarring of Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP) roads, mainly between Varkala and Kallambalam, would be taken up soon. A special purpose vehicle would be formed for developing 1,000-km roads at an estimated cost of Rs.5,100 crore.

Elevated highways had been planned to ease traffic congestion. A mobile road maintenance system had already been introduced in the capital city. If successful, the system would be extended to other districts too, Mr. Kunju said.

The schedule of rates for civil works would be revised in a month. The new PWD manual would come into force within 100 days. Cable ducts would be constructed alongside PWD roads, he said.

Education Minister P.K. Abdu Rabb said that formation of a technical university had been mooted for academic autonomy of engineering colleges.

Initially, government engineering colleges would be affiliated to the technical university. The College of Engineering Thiruvananthapuram would be made the mother college.

There was no proposal to start schools with public-private participation, he added. There was a shortage of 7,696 teachers in the general education sector.

Stipend for students

Minister for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Welfare and Tourism A.P. Anil Kumar said that lump sum grant, stipend and pocket money for SC/ST students may be increased. Curbs had been proposed on the service of houseboats. As many as 1,006 houseboats were operating in the backwaters of the State. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that four cases had been registered for human trafficking and six out of the 23 accused had been arrested.