THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Uncertainty looms large over the development of the much-awaited Kazhakoottam-Paripally stretch of NH 66 bypass following the delay in tender proceedings. The bids — both technical and financial— were to be opened last week. However, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) postponed the opening of the bid, and it is uncertain when the contract of the project could be awarded to start the work on the new six-lane road.
The opening of the bids for the development of the 29-km stretch on the Kollam-Thiruvananthapuram border was scheduled for December 10. The last date for submitting the bids was December 9. The NHAI called the e-tender for selecting the contractor on October 25 this year. Although sources said the NHAI might reportedly float tender again since there were no competent bidders, it is not yet confirmed.
According to P Pradeep, project director, NHAI, the tender was issued by NHAI headquarters, which has to decide on further proceedings. Of 20 stretches in the state, from Thalappady in Kasaragod to Karode in Thiruvananthapuram, 16 reaches have been successfully awarded to contractors. The work along the Kazhakoottam-Paripally stretch is part of the NHAI project for widening the 526-km stretch from Thalappady to Kazhakoottam in Thiruvananthapuram. NHAI has set a target of two-and-a-half years to complete the 29-km stretch.
The NHAI is yet to vacate the stay order secured by Thiruvarattukavu temple authorities at Attingal, which is the lone hurdle for acquiring 45 cents of land. The acquisition is important for the construction of the 12-km-long Attingal bypass. The Kazhakoottam-Paripally road project has been conceived in such a way that the highway would deviate from Mamom Junction to a bypass road. From here, long-distance travellers need not touch Attingal town, a major traffic bottleneck. They can join the main road at Ayamkonam near Kallambalam. The project requires 65 hectares of land, of which 20 hectares is already with NHAI.