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Size doesn't matter for Vyttila mobility hub

October 14 2013 9:17 AM

From the current seven-storey proposal, the LSG department wants to shorten the project to four floors, doing away with three floors meant for commercial space that would have shored up revenues of the hub in the future.

Though the ostensible aim is to accommodate the project under the Jawaharlal National Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme, authorities failed to give a reason for the baffling revised proposal, submitted last week.

A consortium of banks had earlier agreed to provide Rs 264 crore as loan for the Rs 376-crore project. But after the state government dragged its feet, the sanction given by the bank expired. Inexplicably, no effort was made by authorities to renew the sanction.

For including a project in JNNURM, it should be an essential but not a financially viable project. The Vyttila Mobility Hub Society (VMHS) authorities have decided to cut down three floors earmarked as commercial space that would have generated revenue for running the project.

Of the estimated cost of around Rs 376 crore for the second phase, Goshree Islands Development Authority ( GIDA) and Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) had offered to provide Rs 20 crore each. Though a consortium of banks had agreed to provide Rs 264 crore, the state government failed to give permission for availing the loan, leading to the expiry of the sanction accorded by the banks. Rather than attempting to renew the consortium's sanction, authorities have decided to go for JNNURM funding.

But mobility hub authorities maintain that the loan option has not been abandoned completely. "We submitted a proposal to include the project in JNNURM following a request from the LSG department. We have completed pre-qualification tenders for the second phase. We will now move on to the financial bid," said M Beena, managing director, VMHS. If the project fails to make it to JNNURM, funding by the consortium will be considered again, she said.

By reducing the number of floors, hub authorities expect to bring the cost down by Rs 125 crore. As per the original plan, the basement is meant for parking and the ground floor for bus bays. From first to seventh floors, the space is largely meant for commercial purposes. On the top floor, there will be a food court and children's play area. Following the new proposal, commercial space would be largely reduced as passenger amenities may take up nearly three stories.

Courtesy: The Times of India