Kozhikode

Bypass expansion: Inkel pulls out of pact

The expansion of the 28.4-km Kozhikode bypass is expected to solve traffic problems on the Vengalam-Idimuzhikkal stretch. A view of the bypass at Chevarambalam.

The expansion of the 28.4-km Kozhikode bypass is expected to solve traffic problems on the Vengalam-Idimuzhikkal stretch. A view of the bypass at Chevarambalam.  

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Project to be further delayed

Inkel Ltd (formally Infrastructure Kerala Limited), a public-private partnership company promoted by the State Government, has pulled out of the agreement it had reached with a Hyderabad-based construction firm for the Kozhikode bypass widening project.

Thus, the commissioning of the multi-crore project, which has been hanging fire for the past two years, will be further delayed. As per the original proposal, the construction of the six -lane bypass stretching from Vengalam to Idimuzhikkal should have started in August 2018 and completed in April 2020.

Sources said that Krishna Mohan Construction Private Limited (KMC), which secured the contract, had planned to rope in Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T), the Mumbai-based multinational conglomerate, to offer financial assistance to go ahead with the project. A letter in this regard would be submitted to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) shortly.

Following the new agreement, a new financial package would also be worked out for the project. The development comes at a time when the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and the State government are struggling to execute the project with the construction company failing to provide bank guarantee.

Earlier, the NHAI had approved the proposal to set up a consortium with Inkel to take up the project. But later the company had second thoughts of involving a Kozhikode-based company due to the inordinate delay and cost escalation.

It was on April 18, 2018, that the NHAI and KMC inked an agreement for the ₹1,710-crore project. Despite reminders and warnings from the Public Works Department, the company failed to secure the bank guarantee of ₹85 crore for commencing the project. Later, the NHAI decided to accept the performance bank guarantee from the company.

Incidentally, the State government had handed over the land, which was acquired more than two decades ago, to the NHAI last month. About 130 hectares had been acquired for widening the bypass into 45-metre-width. Four major bridges, a minor bridge, eight flyovers, four vehicle underpasses, 17 pedestrian underpasses, 64 pipe culverts and 39 box culverts will be constructed as part of the project.

The expansion of the 28.4-km Kozhikode bypass is expected to solve traffic problems on the stretch to a great extent. The widening plan has been drawn up under the National Highway Development Project Phase III to be executed in the hybrid annuity mode. Thus the government will share 40% of the cost to start the work while the remaining investment will be made by the contractor.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 2:14:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/bypass-expansion-inkel-pulls-out-of-pact/article30526841.ece

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