Infrastructure Initiatives by Government of Kerala in Transportation Sector

As the New Year dawns in the state of Kerala, the government led by the Left Democratic Front is entering the eighth month of good governance. At this juncture of hope and happiness, a retrospective analysis of the targets met will uplift the spirit of the government as well as the people. The manifesto published prior to the election had assured the people of integrated development at every stratum of the society. Ever since the government had assumed office, due importance has been given to industrial and infrastructure development that could accelerate sustainable growth in the economy.

To mobilize funds and to acquire capital for the development of infrastructure facilities, the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) has been restructured to act as the key Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). Constituted under the Finance Department, KIIFB will act as the nodal agency to scrutinize, approve and fund major infrastructure projects. An accumulation of Rs. 500 Billion is targeted, outside of the budget, to provide investment for projects in sectors such as Transport, Water Sanitation, Energy, Social and Commercial Infrastructure, IT and Electronic Industry etc. Major projects have been conceptualised in the transportation sector, as better transportation facilities such as speed and convenience can assist rapid goods-transport and thereby the economic growth of the state. Let us take a look at these major initiatives.

Road Transportation
Following international standards, National Highways will be widened an extra 45 metres, to ensure safety and security. Under the Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP-II), the organizational strength of Kerala Road Safety Authority (KRSA) will be restructured with a focus on road safety. The budget has already allocated Rs. 25.7 Million for the project. A Special Safety Corridor (SSC), aiming at reducing road accidents by 30%, from Kazhakkuttam to Adoor (80 km) in the MC Road is being conceived initially, to be followed throughout the state at the next level. Flyovers in busy traffic junctions, such as Pattom, Sreekaryam and Ulloor, are under consideration and Rs. 2.73 Billion has been allocated to the construction of a flyover at Thampanoor.

Inland Water Transportation
The glorious past of inland water transportation in Kerala needs to be reclaimed. With this purpose, the Kochi Water Metro Project, under the aegis of the Indo German Bilateral Cooperation “Climate Friendly Urban Mobility Plan”, has been designed as an integrated water transport project. The Kochi Water Metro Project (76 km) — a feeder service to the Kochi Metro Rail Project — once commissioned will positively reduce the road traffic. Of the total cost of Rs. 8.20 Billion, the KfW Development Bank (a German government-owned development Bank) will be providing EUR 80 Million as long term soft loan and the State Government of Kerala will be contributing Rs. 1.02 Billion. Notably, the Kochi Water Metro, launched on July 2016, is India’s first water metro project and is expected to be fully functional by 2019. The Azheekkal-Androth Ship Transportation Project aims at rapid goods transportation and will positively influence the trade relations between Lakshadweep and Kerala.

Metro Rail Projects

The Kochi Metro Rail Project needs no special introduction but the humanitarian concerns of the projects need to be highlighted. The participation of Kudumbashree has been ensured in the Kochi Metro Rail Project. As per the MoU signed by the Director of KMRL and the Executive Director of Kudumbashree, Kudumbashree will be supervising the cleaning, parking and the distribution of tickets, once the project is completed. An estimate of 1800 people will be employed and special considerations will be given to trans-genders. Also, land acquisition has begun in Thiruvananthapuram (1.9 hectare) and Calicut (1.44 hectare) for the proposed light metro project.

Good transportation facilities are the key to economic growth and the government is working towards the successful execution of all the projects mentioned above. More projects will be conceived in due course of time, which would facilitate the infrastructure development. As the New Year dawns, the government requests the help and support of the people. Let’s build together!

Best Wishes and Happy New Year to Everyone.