Seven-member team reviews progress of work

World Bank has expressed satisfaction over the pace, execution, and progress of the ongoing second phase of the Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP).

The project aims at developing 367 km of State highways, in eight corridors, into world-class standards.

A visiting seven-member World Bank team led by Arnab Bandyopadhyay conveyed this to Minister for Public Works V.K. Ebrahim Kunju after carrying out a detailed inspection of the eight corridors.

The team is in the State to carry out a first review after the World Bank-aided project, estimated to cost Rs.2,403 crore on completion, was kicked off in June. The State had got a soft loan of Rs.1,166 crore from the bank for the second phase.

At the review meeting attended by the Minister, Public Works Department Secretary T.O. Sooraj, and KSTP Project Director Joseph Mathew here on Wednesday, Mr. Bandyopadhyay said the drawbacks seen in the first phase were not witnessed in the second phase.

He reminded project officials and those of the Kerala State Electricity Board and the Kerala Water Authority, contractors, and stakeholders of the need to foresee challenges and solve them.

Plea to stakeholders

Mr. Kunju urged the stakeholders to work jointly for the success and timely completion of the second phase.

Official sources told The Hindu that the team conducted a detailed inspection of the Kasaragod-Kanhangad (27.76 km), Pilathara-Pappinissery (20.90 km), and Thalassery-Valavupara (53.12 km) corridors where work was in full swing.

Work on plants

The work to set up plants to mix bitumen and metal at Mattannur and Pazhgangadi was on.

The site visits lasted two days, followed by the review meeting in the State capital.

The other five corridors are Taliparambu-Iritty (4.5 km); Perumpilavu-Pattambi-Perinthalmanna (Nilambur road) (41 km); Chengannur-Ettumanur (47 km); Ettumanur-Muvattupuzha (40.9 km); and Punalur-Ponkunnam-Thodupuzha (132.22 km). Sources said the tenders for the Punalur-Ponkunnam-Thodupuzha stretch would be fixed on Monday. Negotiations for the Chengannur-Ettumanur-Muvattupuzha stretch were on with the bank.