THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The long-pending project to construct a new bridge at Vallakkadavu will soon become a reality with the district administration gearing up to issue 11(1) notifications to initiate land acquisition.
Minister Anthony Raju has convened a meeting with the stakeholders and the departments' involved on Monday to review the progress of the project and expedite its execution.
Recently, the expert committee under the district administration had carried out a site visit to initiate land acquisition procedures. A senior official of the revenue wing under the district administration told The New Indian Express that the social impact study (SIS) of the project is complete the expert committee will soon table a report to the district collector.
"Once the expert committee report gets submitted, the district collector will issue the 11 (1) notification to initiate land acquisition," said the official, adding that the notification will be issued in the coming weeks.
As many as 30 landowners have agreed to surrender their land to facilitate the bridge construction. The project has been pending for more than a decade now. Meanwhile, the Public Works Department (PWD) is gearing up to throw open the temporary bridge at Vallkkadavu.
"The work of the temporary bridge has been completed and we will be able to open it for the public soon. We will begin the construction of the permanent bridge once the revenue authorities hand over the land. We had informed the minister about the delay in land acquisition proceedings and he has convened a meeting next week to speed up the procedure," said a senior official of PWD.
The official said that the design of the bridge is ready and is estimated to cost around Rs 15 crores. "The state government had sanctioned Rs 5 crores earlier for the project, but now the requirement has changed. The irrigation department is making Parvathy Puthanar navigable and the bridge requires to be cleaned vertically. This requires a change in design. So, we had to change the design. We will know the actual estimates once the land acquisition is complete," said the official.
Currently, heavy vehicle movement has been banned via the old bridge. "We hope the construction of the bridge will commence soon. The revenue authorities informed us that they will complete the land acquisition in three months. The bridge is in a dilapidated state and currently, heavy vehicles are not allowed on it. The Transport Minister has intervened and after the meeting on Monday, we hope the project will get a much-needed thrust," said P Padmakumar, Perunthanni ward councillor.
Activist Ragam Rahim said that the project was announced when VS Achuthanandan was the chief minister. "The project has been long pending and the landowners have already handed over the land but the project continues to remain on paper. But it is nice to see that it is proceeding fast," said Ragam Rahim.