Stand-off between NHAI and Thiruvananthapuram civic body over installation of streetlights continues
Though two major corporates -- Adani Group and Lulu -- had come forward to install lights following the expression of interest (EOI) called by the corporation, nothing has materialised so far.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The standoff between the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the city corporation continues over the installation of streetlights on the NH-66 bypass from Kazhakootam to Vizhinjam. Though two major corporates -- Adani Group and Lulu -- had come forward to install lights following the expression of interest (EOI) called by the corporation, nothing has materialised so far.
The NHAI has proposed to install only 75 streetlights, including junctions between Kazhakootam and Vizhinjam. Interestingly, Lulu Group has already installed lights on the service road in front of its mall after getting approval from the NHAI.
Recently, the corporation has sent a letter to the NHAI seeking permission to allow private partners to install lights so that it will get revenue through the advertisement hoardings which are placed on the lamp posts along the median. However, the NHAI replied to the corporation that it will install lights at 75 blackspots identified on the bypass stretch.
“The corporation has already sent a letter to the NHAI seeking approval for the entire stretch so that private players could be roped in. We have done our part. Now, the call has to be taken by the NHAI. The NHAI has intimated to us that it will install lights at 75 spots. So we are awaiting the NHAI decision on the EOI called by the corporation,” corporation secretary Binu Francis told TNIE.
Unlike other NH stretches, Kazhakootam to Vizhinjam is an important corridor as many IT companies, research institutions, apartments, malls and showrooms are located on either side of the stretch. Recently, the Thiruvananthapuram chapter of the Chamber of Commerce had stressed the need for installing streetlights on the stretch. Meanwhile, NHAI project director P Pradeep said it is yet to get approval from the headquarters for the installation of lights.
“We have informed the corporation about NHAI’s interest to install lights at junctions and blackspots. On the EOI, we are trying our best. But the proposal of placing advertisement hoardings on the lamp posts remains an issue. We are trying to sort it out,” he said.
At a meeting with the NHAI officials in September this year, the corporation officials proposed to invite an EOI from private agencies for installation and maintenance of streetlights along the bypass median. Many accidents have happened on the stretch, which was opened to the public three years ago. It has also turned out to be a haven for anti-social elements. Until recently, the NHAI and the city corporation had been passing the buck on the installation of streetlights.
While the NHAI said the Kazhakootam-Vizhinjam stretch comes under the corporation limits, the civic body maintained that it is NHAI’s responsibility to install streetlights. The 2.1-km elevated highway, which is under construction at Kazhakootam, will have streetlights as NHAI had already proposed. The highway is likely to be commissioned in April. The NHAI had installed streetlights on the Chackai flyover and near the toll plaza at Thiruvallam.