Work on four-laning the Kazhakuttam-Inchivila stretch of the National Highway 66 bypass is expected to start this year with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) inviting request for qualification (RFQ) documents to prequalify bidders for the project.

The international competitive bidding was for the 26.5-km first phase, from Kazhakuttam to Mukkola, where land was acquired two decades ago, Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor told a media conference here on Sunday. The first phase work was estimated to cost Rs.776.27 crore.

Land acquisition for the remaining 16.5-km stretch from Mukkola to Kaliyikkavila was progressing. The fair value survey would be completed by Onam, Dr. Tharoor said.

The District-Level Purchase Committee would then finalise its recommendations regarding the compensation package for those whose land would need to be acquired. With the deadline for submission of RFQs being October 4, he said the bidder should be finalised by November. The NHAI aimed at completing the entire project, including land acquisition and road work, in 24 months. The total cost had been put at Rs.1,100 crore, Dr. Tharoor said.

The bidder would be in charge of aspects such as design, engineering, construction, operation, and maintenance of the project. In addition, there would be construction of new pavements and service roads on either side of the entire stretch; one rail over-bridge; three major and five minor bridges; 76 culverts; 68 pipe culverts; two vehicular underpasses; and two overpasses along the 26.5-km stretch.

Asked about the garbage situation in his constituency, Dr. Tharoor said, “it is because of the irresponsibility of the local authorities in commissioning a plant and leachate treatment and filtration facilities that resulted in problems of pollution faced by people.”

The Corporation had not been bothered to put in place a system that would mobilise Kudumbasree workers in clearing garbage. Eco-friendly alternatives and waste-to-energy approaches were being proposed by entrepreneurs, he said.