Thrissur: The works at Kuthiran twin tunnel on Mannuthy -Vadakkenchery national highway have been put on hold for the past 10 months due to the non-payment a due of Rs 50 crore to the sub-contractor by main contractor KMC.
Krishnam Raju, the director of Mumbai-based Prakrithi Engineering said that the one kilometer-long tunnel through the Kuthiran mountains with an estimated cost of Rs 100 crore 10 years ago has now become a Rs 150-crore project.
“The works of the twin tunnel commenced in 2016 and if we get Rs 50 crore from KMC we could complete it in two months," Mr Raju told DC. The contractor has told us that cost escalation has caused some glitches in the funding of the project by a consortium of banks to this BOT project. It is up to the state government to urge the Union government to make the funds available through the banks. Income could be generated by collecting toll as soon as the project is completed." Mr Raju, who was overseeing the Kuthiran works, has now moved out of Kerala to focus on other projects of his firm.
Alathur MP P.K. Biju said it was the failure of the contractor to raise funds and complete the project in time which has led to the stalemate.
"The entire NH road development project is from Walayar to Angmaly in three phases," Dr Biju said. "The three phases are Angamaly-Mannuthy, Mannuthy-Vadakkenchery and Vadakkenchery-Walayar. The two phases other than the one including the tunnels have been completed by other contractors.”
He said he had sent several letters to Union surface transport minister Nitin Gadkari over the delay in the projects, but the company is still citing the issue of shortage of funds. “However, the same KMC has taken up another project in Kozhikode now," Dr Biju said.
DCC general secretary Shaji J. Kondankandath who has filed a petition in High Court over the alleged faults in the construction by KMC on Mannuthy-Vadakkenchery stretch said that the company was in severe financial crisis and the Union government should have cancelled the contract with the company for delaying the road and tunnel project which was expected to complete in 30 month starting from August 2009....