KERALA

Centre clears Rs.22.9 cr. for Chackai rail bridge

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM May 22. The Central Government has cleared the revised estimate of Rs.22.9 crores for construction of a railway overbridge at Chackai under the first phase of the Thiruvananthapuram- Neyyatinkara National Highway (NH) bypass development project.

A press release from the Thiruvananthapuram MP, V.S. Sivakumar, here today said the estimate also includes the construction of a roundabout to streamline traffic at the point where the Pettah-Airport Road intersects the NH bypass.

The project scheduled for completion by August this year, will enable vehicles from the North to bypass the city and proceed to Kanyakumary through Kaliyikkavila. The overbridge is designed to help reduce the traffic congestion in the city and cut down the distance.

According to the release, the Centre had sanctioned Rs.20 crores for the second phase of the bypass development project. This includes Rs.12 crores for land acquisition along the 5.47-km stretch from Mukkola to Kanhirankulam and Rs.8 crores for construction of a 3.271-km road from Kovalam to Mukkola. Mr. Sivakumar said the Union Minister for Surface Transport had agreed to sanction additional funds if the Rs.8 crores allotment was inadequate for the construction work.

The allocation had been cleared following talks with the Road Transport and Highways Ministry during the budget session of Parliament. The Public Works Minister, M.K. Muneer, had piloted the discussions, he said.

The Centre had cleared the revised alignment of the Plammoottilkada-Inchivila stretch to be taken up in the last phase of the bypass development project.

The alignment was prepared by the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) and submitted in 1997.

The NH Bypass, originating from Kazhakkuttom and rejoining the NH 47 at Inchivila, near the inter-State border at Parassala, was conceived in the 1990's to reduce the traffic congestion being faced in the capital city from Sreekariyam to Neyattinkara along the NH 47 and to develop an alternative traffic corridor.

Aimed at facilitating the quick freight movement and smooth traffic across the State, the bypass would reduce the distance between Kazhakkuttom and Kaliyikkavila by four km and vehicles can save a considerable amount of fuel as they need not enter the city.

The work on the Bypass project, being executed by the PWD (NH), started in 1993. The first phase extending up to Kovalam, was to be completed by 1996, to be followed by the second phase of 21.62 km from Kovalam to Inchivila.

The release added that the Rs.8 crores sanctioned for construction work could be utilised only after the land acquisition was completed. The Centre had approved an allocation of Rs.7.18 crores in 2000 for land acquisition from Kovalam to Mukkola.

A meeting of Revenue and PWD officials would be convened soon to resolve the administrative delay in acquisition, he added.

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