Thiruvananthapuram: The proposed under the scheme covering 72km in the city has not gone down well with Kerala road fund board (KRFB). KRFB officials have pointed out that any kind of intervention in roads developed by Thiruvananthapuram road development company limited (TRDCL) may not be feasible.
In a recent meeting convened by Smart City Thiruvananthapuram Limited (SCTL) with road owners and utility providers, KRFB officials had pointed out that the roads under their ownership is under a 15-year concessionaire period under TRDCL for construction, operation and maintenance.
It was cited that many of the roads are well developed ones with footpath, storm water drains and cross ducting and that interventions under Smart City Mission may not be feasible since there was already an existing maintenance contract with TRDCL.
Project management consultancy officials, who had a meeting with TRDCL, have however pointed out that it was possible to do underground ducting below the available space under footpath. Balakiran, CEO,SCTL has reportedly told the meeting that the matter will be taken up at the chief secretary level citing that it was a good opportunity to convert roads under area-based development (ABD) region into smart roads under a centre-sponsored scheme. SCTL is keen on launching the pilot phase of the project very soon and the objection from KRFB has raised concerns.
Officials said that all other departments have been convinced about the scheme. PWD was another department which posed major hurdles saying various reasons like need for PWD minister’s concurrence and other projects funded by World Bank. Officials have convinced PWD that it would be better to execute scheme with centre-sponsored funds rather than loans taken from World Bank.
The project officials are also dealing with challenges related to storm water drains. Many drains were found to be of kacha type and all of them will have to be revamped. As regarding possible disruptions in services, SCTL plans to undertake the project in a phased manner so that departments concerned could be ready to deal with any kind of service disruptions.
KWA, KSEB, BSNL and other players were the utility providers which took part in the meeting. BSNL had agreed with the proposed cross-section of Chalai Market Road under Smart Roads scheme.
Project management consultancy has been directed to share the list of roads and location map to PWD, corporation and KSEB so that every road owner can give their phasing plan in tune with the ongoing works or other priorities. Tenders will be called for the Smart Roads project in a phased manner. The project was successfully undertaken in central business district of Bengaluru as part of upgrading the roads to international standards.
Smart roads and ducting includes a total of seven components which include underground drainage network, storm water drains, underground ducting of utilities, on-street parking lots, road and junction improvement, way finding signage and cycle tracks, pavers and curb stones.