Red flag for Kottayam skywalk; thought it was a Biennale installation, quips Ganesh

Taking a dig at Thiruvanchoor, Ganesh said that it was only after he took over as minister that he understood it was supposed to be a skywalk.
 Skywalk in Kottayam
Skywalk in KottayamPhoto | Express

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government will not go ahead with the half-finished skywalk project in Kottayam.

Rejecting outright the demand put forth by senior Congress leader Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, Transport Minister K B Ganesh Kumar informed the assembly on Wednesday that, with costs escalating, the project would require around Rs 17.82 crore for completion. Government funds should not be misused for such a purpose, with the project originally conceived at a cost of Rs 5 crore, the minister said.

“Even if it is constructed, the skywalk would have to be demolished in future for town development. In such a scenario, using funds from the Road Safety Authority for its completion wouldn’t prove feasible,” Ganesh said.

Taking a dig at Thiruvanchoor, Ganesh said that it was only after he took over as minister that he understood it was supposed to be a skywalk.

“I have often wondered what this structure was; I thought it was an installation made by some artist for Biennale. Only after taking over did I understand that it was a skywalk,” said Ganesh, amidst laughter.

The minister pointed out that construction was handed over to KITCO, violating specified norms about such projects being entrusted to the Roads and Bridges Corporation.

“Already, there’s a petition filed before the High Court seeking to demolish the structure. The then district collector had given a report saying that no land acquisition would be required for the project. However, now crores will be required for land acquisition. The Road Safety Authority cannot acquire land this way,” he said. Responding to a veiled criticism by his ex-colleague in the Oommen Chandy cabinet, Ganesh said the decision was not personal.

“Thiruvanchoor, as the forest minister, had rejected outright a project that I submitted. Please don’t view this as an act of revenge. I wouldn’t behave the way you responded to my proposal,” Ganesh quipped.

Earlier, raising the issue through a calling attention motion, Thiruvanchoor said the skywalk was designed to address traffic snarl-ups in Kottayam town.

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