Kerala State Transport Project to get additional Rs. 200 crore from World Bank

The steep fall in the value of rupee giving a rise in the fears of a financial crisis notwithstanding, it has brought cheers to the second phase of the World Bank-aided Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP).

The decline in the value of rupee against dollar will enable the State and the Public Works Department to receive more in Indian rupees from the World Bank compared to what it fetched in normal times.

“We are hopeful of taking up more roads under the second phase in the wake of the steep fall in the value of rupee. The rough estimates are that the KSTP will get additional Rs.200 crore,” KSTP Project Director K. Joseph Mathew told The Hindu.

Public Works Minister V.K. Ebrahim Kunju is also in favour of taking up more roads by the KSTP following the rupee depreciation. The new stretches had not been identified yet. In the first phase, maintenance of 1,000 km of road was taken up, he said. The Department of Economic Affairs under the Union Ministry of Finance has signed an agreement with the WB to make available Rs.1,166 crore for the second phase of the KSTP that aims at development of 363 km of State highways spread over eight corridors, at a cost of Rs.2,403 crore.

The Rs.1,166 crore provided by the WB to the State is as soft loan. Initially, the WB had promised a soft loan of Rs.750 crore for the second phase. Later, the amount was enhanced following a series of discussions between a pre-appraisal mission led by WB senior transport economist Simon D. Ellis and the State, PWD and KSTP officials.

Works on

Project officials said the work on the Kasaragod-Kanhangad (27.76 km), Kasaragod, Pilathara-Pappinissery (20.90 km) and Thalassery-Valavupara (53.12 km) had commenced. The other stretches to be taken up are Taliparamba-Iritty (4.5 km); Perumpilavu- Pattambi- Perinthalmanna (Nilambur road (41 km); Chengannur-Ettumanur (47 km); Ettumanur-Muvattupuzha (40.9 km); and Punalur -Ponkunnam- Thodupuzha (PM Road) (132.22 km).

The tenders for the M.C. Road had been forwarded to the WB for clearance and efforts were on to complete the tender process of the P.M. Road, Mr. Joseph Mathew said. The 50-km Punalur-Ponkunnam stretch of the P.M. Road would be taken up on public-private partnership. After the work, the KSTP roads would have a seven-metre carriageway and a width of 10 metre.

The KSTP was originally estimated to cost Rs.1,612.80 crore. It envisaged upgrade of 1,600 km and developing to navigable standards 93 km of inland waterways. The WB aid was Rs.1,224 crore and the State’s share was Rs.388.8 crore. The 257-km first phase was hit by a host of problems following delay in making available land.