THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as the state budget saw a good allocation in the development of infrastructure projects, the government has not earmarked any fund for the proposed Light Metro projects in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode. Since the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the nodal agency in executing the project, backed out, all the proceedings are moving at a slow pace. The DMRC quit from the project following the state government’s reluctance to ink the turnkey consultancy contract for the preparatory work of the transit system even 14 months after the DMRC had undertaken the consultancy.
The government has shown least interest in finding a new consultant and hence the project is dragging to the core, said a source. “For instance, the proposed three flyover projects in Thiruvananthapuram, as part of the metro project, has not seen any progress for the past seven months. Now, the budget has also not set aside any fund for the project. From this move, we can conclude the government has forsaken the project,” said Shelly Raveendran, co-founder of Trivandrum Development Front (TDF).
The DMRC had prepared a revised Detailed Project Report (DPR) as per the new metro policy of 2017. As per the new policy, it’s the respective state governments that should submit the request for approval. Kerala Rapid Transit Corporation Ltd, the special purpose vehicle formed by the state government for the implementation of Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode Light Metro projects, has been entrusted with the task of collecting necessary details.
Earlier, there were allegations that the Finance Department is sitting on the file as they have not given approval for the revised DPR. However, Manoj Joshi, Principal Secretary, Finance Department, said a steering committee including the Finance Department had given approval and the PWD has to give the final approval for the project.
G Kamala Vardhana Rao, Principal Secretary, PWD, told ‘Express’ the steering committee had given approval and the DPR had been forwarded to the Chief Minister’s office for the approval from a ‘board committee’. “Two months ago, the steering committee has evaluated the DPR. Now, a board committee led by the Chief Minister has to give an approval. Then the state will send the DPR to the Central Government for final approval. So we can start the tender proceedings and find a new consultant after getting the Centre’s approval. However, the preliminary work of the proposed flyovers is progressing without any hiccup. Similarly, the KIIFB has already allocated fund for the flyover projects. The budget can’t earmark fund for the full project as the project is yet to be approved by the Centre,” Rao said.
In Thiruvananthapuram, the Social Impact Assessment at Sreekaryam flyover is over. The district administration had assigned the Revenue Department to proceed with the land acquisition. At Ulloor, the SIA is under way and the study will be conducted at Pattom flyover in the next phase. According to a source, the land acquisition is moving at a snail’s pace as it will need at least six to seven months extra for completion. In Kozhikode, the situation is even more worse, as only a survey was carried out for the construction of metro stations. As per the revised DPR, the total project cost for Thiruvananthapuram alone has been escalated to Rs 4,219 crore.