The announcement made by Public Works Minister V K Ebrahim Kunju last week that the construction of the 5.1 km-Pooladikunnu- Vengalam stretch of the Kozhikode bypass had been included in the Speed Kerala Programme, has given a new lease of life to the much-delayed project. The final phase of the 28.12-km-long Kozhikode bypass, connecting Idimuzhikal to Vengalam, includes the construction of two bridges at Purakkattiri and Korappuzha. The total cost of construction of the Pooladikunnu- Vengalam stretch is around Rs 100 crore. The Works Minister’s office says that a total of 23 roads in the state will be developed in the Speed Kerala programme and the Kozhikode bypass is on the priority list. “A total of 23 roads in the state, including those of three bypasses - Kozhikode, Alappuzha and Kollam - have been included in the Speed Kerala Programme and will be developed without any further delay. Of the 23 roads selected, the department has already prepared a priority list of 10 roads, that includes the Pooladikunnu- Vengalam stretch of the Kozhikode bypass,” says an official with the minister’s office. The official further adds that the state government budget for 2013-14 has made a provision to bear 50 per cent of the cost needed for the completion of six bypasses, including the Kozhikode bypass. “In the state budget for both the Kollam and Alappuzha bypasses, Rs 50 crore had been allocated, whereas for the Kozhikode bypass, only Rs 5 crore was provided. The land acquisition for the construction of the final phase of the bypass was completed several years ago. With the fresh announcement by the minister, we hope that the long-pending work on the NH bypass will now be expedited,” says A K Saseendran MLA. He also says that it is most likely that the Union and state governments will share the cost of construction of the Pooladikunnu- Vengalam stretch in the ratio 50:50. Meanwhile, sources in the PWD NH division, Kozhikode, say that they have already submitted a report seeking approval for the estimate for the preparation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR). “Though we had a DPR prepared two decades ago for construction of the stretch, it has become outdated and a new one has to be prepared. Once the estimate is approved, the DPR will be prepared in a month and the department will start the tendering process,” the official says. He also adds that it is not clear whether the DPR will be prepared by the consultants to be appointed by the Union or state governments. The Kozhikode bypass is being constructed in four phases, for which the proposal was made three decades ago, with the aim of reducing traffic congestion in the city. The first phase, from Idimuzhikkal to Pantheerankavu (7.25 km), the third phase, Pantheerankavu-Thondayad junction (6.17 km) and the fourth phase connecting the Thondayad-Malaparamba junc t ions (2. 74 km) was commissioned in course of time. Meanwhile, the second phase, from Malaparamba- Vengalam (11.96 km) has been further divided into two portions - Malaparamba- Pooladikunnu (6.86 km) and Pooladikunnu-Vengalam (5.10 km). The Malaparamba- Pooladikunnu stretch was inaugurated on June 2012. But the construction of the final phase was delayed owing to various reasons.