TIRUVANANTHAPURAM : When the government announced an outer ring road project in the district on the lines of metros like Chennai and Bengaluru, many people thought it could prove a game-changer in terms of the capital city’s development. However, the much-touted project is in limbo with the apathy shown by the government. The draft of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the project was only submitted by the nodal agency, Capital Region Development Programme (CRDP)- II, to the government three months ago and the social impact assessment study is yet to begin, sources said. All proceedings related to the project are moving at a snail’s pace, sources said.
According to CRDP officers, a technical committee has to be formed by the government for giving in-principle approval to the project and this procedure was getting delayed. The technical committee will have Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary of PWD as members and they need to take a final call on the draft DPR. “We are hopeful of starting the social impact study in two weeks,” said a top officer of CRDP. “It will be conducted by Larsen and Turbo (L&T) engineering.
The original DPR can be submitted only after completing the study. Then we have to obtain the environment clearance. Hopefully, we can get the clearance by June this year. All the papers related to the study and draft of the DPR was submitted to the State Social Environment Impact Assessment (SEIA) department. We can move ahead with proceedings including the preparation of original DPR once we get the green signal from the government. The DPR will also include the alignment of the proposed road.”
Earlier, it was decided the social impact study has to begin by December last year. The proposal for an outer ring road was mooted around four years ago to decongest the existing roads such as MC Road, NH 66 and NH 66 bypass. But it got delayed owing to fund crunch. In 2016, the CRDP invited suggestions regarding the alignment of the 105.58-km road. Officials said many agencies including the Trivandrum Development Front (TDF) approached them with various suggestions.
“We have been eagerly waiting for this project to materialise,” said Shelly Raveendran, a member of TDF. “The government should act in a swift manner to develop the long-standing dream of ours. The project will change the face of Thiruvananthapuram. NH 66 bypass is in the developmental stage. The construction of Vizhinam port is also progressing.
So a road which connects all the key projects in the district is essential. If the northern fringes of the district are becoming an IT hub with the launch of Technocity, the southern fringes will be developed once the Vizhinjam project becomes a reality. So hope the government will give a nod to the project soon.” The Rs 1,061-crore project is expected to be taken up in the public private partnership (PPP) mode. The state’s share will be Rs 189 crore and the Centre’s Rs 323 crore. The remaining Rs 549 crore is expected to be raised through PPP mode.
If things get moving
The key advantage of this project is the need to acquire land is very less compared to other infrastructure projects. A CRDP officer said the project has been designed to minimise displacement levels in the area. The project involves the construction of a 55-km outer ring road which will interconnect NH 66, state highways and MC road beginning from Mangalapuram in the north to Andoorkonam, Vattapara, Aruvikara, Ooruttambalam, Balaramapuram and touches Vizhinjam by-pass.
After completion, the ring road will directly connect Kaniyapuram and Neyyattinkara. The corridor is expected to spur economic growth in the outer fringes of the city and create jobs for people in these areas. Four economic areas have been proposed as part of the project- logistic zones from Mangalapuram to Ooruttambalam, IT/ITeS zone in Andoorkonam, media or entertainment zones, and rehabilitation and resettlement zones. The project is envisaged as 55 per cent brownfield and 45 per cent green field. The road is to be six-lane.