Decks have been cleared for mobilising resources from the World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the development of 367 kms of roads under the second phase of the Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP) and upgrading of 1000 kms of road under the State Road Improvement Project (SRIP) to international standards.
The positive approach from the international agencies comes in the wake of presentations and discussions the Project Director, KSTP, L. Prashant Nair and General Manager of Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB), N. Sudharsanan Pillai had with the Department of Economic Affairs and WB representatives in New Delhi on Thursday.
Official sources told The Hindu that the Department of Economic Affairs had in principle approved the Rs. 51,000 crore project for the development of 1,000 kms. The state had been asked to route the matter through the Member, Planning Board, as the debt servicing capacity of Kerala will have to be taken into account for getting the assistance from the Manila-based ADB.
Will Smith Associates, a reputed consultancy, entrusted for identifying major State and district roads to be included in the project, had completed their work. Negotiated settlement and a fast-track system had been proposed for land acquisition that is estimated to cost Rs. 1000 crore.
The Government had proposed floating infrastructure development bonds and public-private-partnership (PPP) mode for the project. The Government had announced that no toll would be levied from the developed roads and that a special purpose vehicle would be formed for expediting the project. Official sources said the Detailed Project (DPR) had to be prepared.
KSTP Second phase
The hurdles for getting the funding for the second phase of the KSTP had also been cleared with the World Bank Mission scheduled to visit the state early in January to hold talks with the Government and the KSTP and the PWD officials.
Official sources said the arrival of the Mission to be headed by Simon, a WB official from Washington, will lead to the Aide Memoir from the WB. The state had submitted the project report to the WB two years ago for road development of 367 km in the second phase of the KSTP.
The stretches identified for the second phase of the project are Kasaragod-Kanhangad; Pilathara- Pappineserri; Thalassery-Valampara; Perumpilavu-Perinthalmanna (Nilambur road); Changanassery- Muvattupuzha and Punalur- Thodupuzha (PM road). Official sources said 95 per cent of the land acquisition had been completed and that the DPR needs to be updated.
The KSTP project, launched in 2002, was originally estimated to cost Rs.1,612.80 crore. It envisaged upgrade of the quality of key roads, over 1,600 km, and developing to navigable standards 93 km of inland waterways. The WB aid for the project came to Rs.1,224 crore and the State's contribution was Rs.388.8 crore. The 257 kms in the first phase was hit by a host of problems following the delay in making available land for contractors.