Konkan Rly. finetuning skybus project

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM MAY 22. The Konkan Railway is working on the technical aspects of the Kochi `skybus' project for getting it cleared by the Union Ministry of Surface Transport, according to the Transport Minister, R. Balakrishna Pillai.

Addressing a `Meet-the-Minister' programme at the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club today, Mr. Pillai said the Konkan Railway would be first building a `skybus' facility in Goa across a one-kilometre stretch. This experimental project would be used by the Railway to get the Centre's technical clearance for the Kochi `skybus' project.

He said the State Government would rather have a public sector entity like the Konkan Railway to execute this Rs. 820-crore project, which was showcased at the recent Global Investor Meet (GIM) in Kochi.

Referring to another GIM project in the transport sector, the one envisaging the renovation and construction of shopping complexes at some of the major KSRTC stations on build-operate-and-transfer (BOT) basis, he said a company which had evinced interest in the Thiruvananthapuram facility had come up with "unacceptable conditions''.

He said no company would be allowed to take undue advantage of the offer. Negotiations were, however, continuing. The proposal was to have this BOT arrangement at the bus stations in Ernakulam, Kottayam and Munnar, apart from Thiruvananthapuram.

Mr. Pillai said a Bill envisaging the setting up of a Road Safety Authority was expected to be placed before the Legislative Assembly this year itself. The proposed Road Safety Authority would be responsible for introducing appropriate measures to bring down road accidents in the State. The Bill would also facilitate the setting up of a Road Safety Fund for extending immediate relief to accident victims and providing equipment and vehicles for enforcing road safety measures.

He said `speed governors' to restrict the speed of vehicles to 60 km per hour would be insisted for all stage carriages and heavy vehicles with effect from September 1, this year.

The computerisation of the Motor Vehicles Department could not be completed for want of administrative sanction for the release of funds. The total computerisation of the department was expected to be done during the current financial year itself. The Government's decision was to go for the Andhra model `FAST' project. The preparation of site and supply, installation and maintenance of hardware would be done by outside agencies on `build-operate, maintain and transfer' basis, he added.

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