Officials quit in protest against proposal to restructure PIU

The execution of two multi-crore projects envisaged under the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP) in Kozhikode has run into rough weather with the State government proposing to restructure the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) functioning at the city Corporation office.

A few officials, including project manager K. Bhaskaran and technical officers, have quit their posts in protest against the decision. Mr. Bhaskaran was asked to continue in the post after his one-year tenure ended in May. However, the decision of the government to reconstitute the PIU has compelled him to resign, he says.

The restructuring will result in the PIU dissociating itself with the Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS)-Institute for Societal Advancement (ISA) Consortium (Design Supervision and Construction) that had been engaged in consultancy services, Mr. Bhaskaran told The Hindu on Friday.

The move comes at a time when the PIU has taken up drainage and sewerage projects in the city.

The works have come to a standstill, and their commissioning will be further delayed. Earlier, the Asian Development Bank, which finances the KSUDP schemes, had criticised the government for its unenthusiastic approach to implementing the works.

The Manila-based financial lending agency had pulled up the government for non-performance, particularly with regard to the sewerage and sanitation, and the drainage components.

Initially, the government had been directed that all projects launched in 2007 should be tendered, awarded, and completed by June 2012. Following a government request, the PIU has been given a final deadline of June 30, 2014.

Official sources said only Rs.4 crore of the Rs.30.74 crore set aside for the drainage projects had been utilised so far.

Completed

The works completed included construction of outlets to the Arabian Sea from the Kamburam beach, Butt Road, Edakkalthode, and the Vellayil beach, and drains connecting to Canoly Canal. New schemes had been sanctioned on Mavoor Road, Rajaji Road, and Sreekanteswaram Road, but the Rs.10.10-crore project was yet to be awarded.

Only 16 per cent of the sewerage and sanitation work had been completed.

The project included laying of 63-km of pipelines for sewerage network, construction of five lifting stations and two pumping stations, and a sewerage treatment plant (STP). The cost estimate for the sewerage network was Rs.68 crore and that for road construction Rs.8 crore.

Tenders had to be finalised for the construction of an STP for Rs.24 crore, Mr. Bhaskaran said.

Less than 50 per cent of the Rs.154.65-crore KSUDP package has been completed in the city.

Incidentally, the projects under road and transportation (Rs.37.98 crore) and community development (Rs.20 crore) achieved their target two years ago.

Earlier, K. Narayanan, who was credited with building the E.K. Nayanar flyover, the four-lane road connecting Eranhipalam and Arayidathupalam, and the facelift of all major junctions in the city, had stepped down from the post of project manager in October 2011 following alleged differences with the State government and non-cooperation of the Project Management Unit in Thiruvananthapuram.

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