Special Correspondent

Asks contractor to resume work unconditionally

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Government has warned the Malaysian company that has been executing major stretches of the World Bank-aided Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP) to resume work unconditionally or get ready for renegotiation on Government terms. It has also decided to take a look at the entire project to identify how there was slippage in work execution and who were responsible for it.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac told a news conference here on Wednesday that there was no basis for the charge that the delay in the completion of the project, which had assumed a sensational dimension following suicide by the local manager of the contracting firm, was on account of the Government's failure in acquiring land in time and releasing payments promptly. The Government had so far spent Rs.817 crore on the project, which has a total estimated cost of Rs.1,600 crore, but which would require at least Rs.3,000 crore for completion. Although there was some delay in land acquisition initially, the Government had made up for it by putting land acquisition on the fast track. . A World Bank review team, which had gone into the whole issue during its visit to the State from May 21 to 29, had stated that the slow progress could be attributed to low cash flow mobilisation by the contractor.