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CM steps in to shore up Vyttila mobility project

November 05 2013 9:24 AM

Chandy is planning to hold a meeting of top officials on Wednesday to set the ball rolling for the project that is the most prominent inter-model transit facility supporting Metro project.

This is the second time in two months that the chief minister is holding a high-level meeting on the issue. At a meeting convened by Chandy in September, it was decided that both Vyttila and Metro projects should be completed simultaneously. It was also decided that the project would be executed by the government rather than seeking a public-private-partnership (PPP).

At the meeting, Chandy had categorically made it clear that the government aid required for the project should be made available whenever required. Later, at a meeting of Vyttila Mobility Hub Society (VHMS) - attended by top officials including chief secretary E K Bharat Bhushan on October 19 - it was decided to put the project on hold or choose the PPP model.

Then excise minister K Babu is learnt to have apprised Chandy about the need to complete the project on time as per the original design. "The chief minister will hold a meeting soon. We expect that all issues will be sorted out after the meeting," said Babu. Local self-government department has sent a letter to VHMS asking them to convene a meeting soon. There is a suggestion that the meeting should coincide with the cabinet meeting.

Protests had brewed up after officials suggested the PPP mode saying that the state's exchequer can't afford such a big project given the present financial crisis. But officials, who oppose the PPP idea, have a different story to tell. "We have Rs 40 crore and the consortium of banks will give Rs 290 crore. Then the government will have to bear a maximum of Rs 100 crore. Given the fact that the government has already earmarked Rs 750 crore for mobility hub projects in the state, it would not be a difficult thing. Moreover, the loan amount can easily be re-paid using the revenue from commercial space," an official associated with the Vyttila hub project said.

The government will not have to take any risk for securing a loan from the consortium. The 25 acres land in possession of VHMS at Vyttila, the value of which is pegged at around Rs 600 crore, can be used as a collateral while securing loan. Of the total Rs 100 crore offered by the government, only six crore rupees will be required this year. In 2014, the government will have to release Rs 50 crore.