Bank’s pre-appraisal mission says worrying increases in cost estimates need serious review

The World Bank has expressed reservation on the ‘slow progress’ in completing acquisition of the remaining land needed for the second phase of the Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP) that aims at world-class development of 367 km of State highways.

The pre-appraisal mission led by World Bank senior transport economist Simon D. Ellis, who was in the State recently to review the project, said the “progress on land acquisition which has not progressed since the last mission and the worrying increases in cost estimates need serious review.”

Over 95 per cent land acquisition for the second phase was completed during phase one of the KSTP initiated with World Bank aid in 2002. In a report after a review for four days, the mission noted that progress to complete acquisition for the balance of the 3.466 hectares of land had been “extremely slow.’’ The status had remained the same since the previous mission.

“If the situation continues in the next calendar year, it may lose the benefit of a well-prepared report,’’ the mission report said.

All the actions listed should be completed to provide encumbrance-free stretches for civil works. The KSTP had been asked to daily monitor the progress and inform the World Bank accordingly.

“Learning from the challenges faced to acquire land on schedule, the KSTP must initiate the process to acquire land for Link 41 and 47 as soon as the designs are firmed up,’’ the report said. Link 41 and 47 is the 47 km Perumbilavu- Pattambi- Perinthalmanna stretch of the eight road corridors identified for being taken up for development in the second phase.

As much as 1.5 hectares had to be acquired in the Thalaserry- Valavupara road in Kannur district, 0.59 hectares in the Chengannur- Etumanoor road in Pathanamthitta district, 0.73 hectares in the Ettumanoor- Muvattupuzha road in Kottayam and Ernakulam districts, 0.47 hectares in Punalur- Ponkunnam road and 0.18 hectares in the Ponkunnam- Thodupuzha road.

Good progress

However, the mission noted that the overall preparation progress had been ‘good’ with three works having already been tendered and two works due to be tendered in February.

The bids for three road sections tendered are the Kasaragod- Kanhangad (27.76 km), Pilathara- Pappinissery (20.90 km), and Thalasery- Valavupara roads.

Public Works Minister V.K. Ebrahim Kunju told The Hindu that the KSTP second phase would be completed in a time-bound manner. The World Bank had expressed its readiness to fund the development of the 367 km of State highways with a soft loan of Rs.1,356 crore. Mr. Ellis is engaged in discussions with the State for the last one year.

  • No progress in acquisition since last mission

  • Minister promises time-bound completion