Kerala to release Rs 2,000 cr from anti-slump pkg for infra uplift

Written by M Sarita Varma | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: Jul 19 2009, 04:48am hrs
The Kerala government has given administrative go-ahead to Rs 2,000-crore infrastructure projects this week. The state had been on a studied odyssey to perk up the battered capital expenditure component in its revenue books, when the downturn too called for job-generating infrastructure projects.

This is the first chunk of a Rs 10,000-crore anti-slump package announced in the state Budget in February. This is also the first time in the state that a slew of mega projects are getting cleared in a single go. Most of these are in irrigation or public works category.

Capital expenditure spending for asset creation was less than 1% of total revenue expenditure in 2007-2008. From Rs 950 crore in 2007-2008, this was raised to Rs 1,506 crore in 2008-2009. Kerala Budget 2009-2010 sets aside Rs 1,709.15 crore for capital expenditure.

Through the an omnibus of infrastructure projects, Kerala finance minister TM Thomas Isaac proposes to ramp it up to Rs 10,000 crore within two years.

About 736 projectsmostly bridges, buildings , bypasses and civil stationswill be complete by 2011, says Dr Isaac. Another Rs 2000-crore worth projects too would be cleared by end of this month, he adds.

Funds are to be cobbled up through outfits like Nabard and public private participation projects. Kerala government also counts on pegging some of the new projects with the fund flows of centrally sponsored schemes.

All clearances are through for 100 bridges, 20 bypass roads, 108 public buildings, 22 civil stations and also 7 bridges, whose work had been lagging for lack of cash-flows. One of the most ecologically happiest tidings is the administrative nod for a long-pending bridge-cum-barrage across Keralas biggest river Bharatapuzha. As much as Rs 29.8 crore has been cleared for this bridge in North Kerala, state works minister Mons Joseph told FE.

During monsoon, the river basin had a huge runoff during monsoon, which became wasted. The tidal salinity during summer hurt the water quality. The bridge would help recharging the water table besides controlling salinity ingression in summer.