KOCHI: With the Assembly elections just a few months away, the Chief Minister and UDF Ministers are racing against time to inaugurate as many pending and ongoing projects as possible. While the inauguration spree is a salvation for some of the pending projects, it has turned out to be bane for a few ongoing works.
The inauguration of many ongoing projects in Kochi has been advanced by the officials in order to provide an opportunity for the ruling ministers to cut the ribbon before they demit office. According to sources, the inauguration of the second international terminal at Cochin International Airport being built at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore has been advanced to February in order to provide an opportunity for the state government to list the achievement under its belt.
“In fact, the terminal was slated to be inaugurated by May 25 this year. However, the authorities have received a directive to hold the inauguration of the new terminal along with a slew of works being held at the airport by February. Though the formal inauguration would be conducted in February for the benefit of the ruling dispensation, the commercial operations of the new terminal along with other facilities will begin only by the end of May or June,” said sources in the airport.
Speaking to ‘Express’, LDF convener, Ernakulam, George Edaparuthy said the Ernakulam district panchayat has held the inauguration of at least 48 works ahead of the local body elections and many of the projects had not even received administrative sanction. Majority of these projects were now scrapped by the authorities after the works did not meet the specifications stipulated by the planning officials, he said.
It seems the elected representatives and Ministers from the district now want to ensure that their names are inscribed on various ‘development works’. In the blind rush to inaugurate buildings and roads before the declaration of elections, politicians seem to turn a blind eye to what they are unveiling, said Arun Prabhakar, a Kochi resident.
A number of infrastructure projects will take off in the coming days with the government also going all out to ensure that its achievements are noticed and a slew of other projects will be commissioned ahead of their completion. Among the main projects, the Kochi Metro Rail has been accorded the foremost attention by the UDF government, which is gearing up to inaugurate the trial run of the Metro train even before the completion of the first phase of the project.
The first phase of Smart City Kochi, slated to be the single largest provider of jobs in the state (around 90,000 direct jobs by 2020) is to be inaugurated ahead of the elections. The Integrated Refinery Expansion Project (IREP) of BPCL Kochi Refinery, Palarivattom and Edappally flyovers, Eroor rail overbridge, a slew of works meant to renovate roads and bridges and the permanent foot-bridge to the Aluva Manappuram from Aluva town are also likely be inaugurated ahead of the elections, said V J Paulose, DCC president. He added that the UDF government has taken bold steps to complete various projects in record time and it shows the efficiency of the ruling dispensation.