Two years after the City Corporation deposited funds with the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) for installing street lights on the Kazhakuttam - Thiruvallam bypass road, the project remains in limbo.
It was in 2008- '09 that the Corporation deposited Rs.82.87lakh with the KSEB for the installation of street lights on the key stretch which houses the Technopark and most of the IT firms that have set up shop in the city, as well as a large number of apartment complexes and commercial establishments. Another Rs.19.82 lakh was deposited for ward-level electrification, including line extension in 20 wards.
However, the KSEB has utilised only Rs.15.91 lakh, according to the certificate received by the local body.
Subsequently, in 2009-'10, the Corporation deposited Rs.82.87 lakh for line extension works. But that amount has not been utilised so far, Corporation sources said.
Chairman of the standing committee on works V.S. Padmakumar said the unutilised funds deposited with the KSEB had touched a staggering Rs.1.6 crore.
“We are concerned about the poor utilisation of funds. The installation of street lights on the bypass road has not progressed beyond the erection of a few posts at the Kazhakuttam and Thiruvallam ends. We have deposited Rs.20.84 lakh with the Kazhakuttam division of the KSEB, Rs.54.37 lakh with the Thiruvananthapuram division and Rs.7.65 lakh with the Neyyatinkara division,” he said.
The absence of street lights is cited as the major reason for the high rate of accidents on the bypass that has witnessed a significant increase in traffic over the years. There have also been cases of criminals targeting motorists under cover of darkness.
Sources in the KSEB said the installation of street lights was held up by the delay on the part of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in finalising the alignment for the bypass road that is to be widened to accommodate the increase in traffic. “If erected without taking the final alignment into consideration, the posts would end up in the middle of the road after widening. That would raise the question of who would foot the bill for shifting them subsequently,” a KSEB official said.
He said the NHAI had given the go ahead for installing street lights only in November 2010.
“We began work as soon as we were informed. The installation of two 100 KVA transformers is in progress and the tenders for laying underground cables along the entire length of the road have been opened. The work is expected to pick up soon,” he added.
Mr. Padmakumar said the Corporation was planning to convene a meeting of KSEB officials to discuss the utilisation of funds deposited for various electrification works.