Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs M. Vijayakumar on Friday refuted Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy's contention that the development of city roads in Thiruvananthapuram was dragging on under the Left Democratic Front (LDF) rule.

The Minister told a press conference that the city development project begun by the previous government could not go on because the contracts had been awarded without acquiring land for the work. The present government had completed land acquisition and the work was resumed on July 31, 2009. As per the revised contract, the work was to be completed by October this year. He had conducted a review of the progress of the work on Friday.

Mr. Vijayakumar recalled that the previous government led by Mr. Chandy had awarded contracts for development of 42 kilometres of roads in the city on March 2004 at an estimated cost of Rs.225 crore. The land was to be made available by December 31, 2004 and the work completed by November 16, 2006.

However, the previous government could acquire only very little land till the end of its term in May 2006. The 14 km of road claimed to have been completed by the UDF government did not require land acquisition except for the Chaka-Asan Square stretch. The land acquisition and work for the Chacka-Asan square stretch was completed after the LDF government came to power.

As the government could not acquire land by December 2006, the company claimed compensation of Rs.237 crore and the claim was settled for Rs.125 crore through arbitration. Talks were on to reduce the amount to Rs.85 crore.

He said the work on the fly-over at Bakery Junction had come to a standstill in 2005. It was restarted by the present government after necessary land was acquired. The work would be completed by the end of this month.

He said the proposed flyover at Thakarapparambu would be ready only by October 2011. The previous government had allowed ‘Big Bazaar' to be built on land earmarked for rehabilitation of the evictees. Alternative proposals had some technical snags and these delayed the work. The government was fighting a legal battle to take back the ‘Big Bazaar' building.

He said 1,527 electric posts, 16 transformers and nearly four kilometres of electric cables had been shifted for the development of the roads besides telecom cables. In addition, the roads had to be dug up for laying the pipelines under the JBIC-funded water supply project. Around 1,130 trees were planted in place of 100 trees cut for widening of the roads.