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Kerala: KIIFB projects in slow pace over dues in crores to contractors

The key projects including waterways, coastal highways, and mountain highways, as well as those under various departments, are experiencing delays.  So far, KIIFB has raised Rs 23,670 crore from national and international agencies, financial markets and other sources.

Kerala: KIIFB projects in slow pace over dues in crores to contractors RKN
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First Published Dec 31, 2023, 12:18 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: The construction projects in the state, managed by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), are facing sluggish progress. The key projects including waterways, coastal highways, and mountain highways, as well as those under various departments, are experiencing delays. Additionally, completed projects are encountering issues with delayed payments to contractors. Frustrated contractors have taken the matter to court, seeking a resolution to the crisis. 

In Kerala, facing financial constraints with limited resources for anything beyond salaries and pensions, the KIIFB emerged as a solution for infrastructure development. Funds for KIIFB were raised through sources like motor vehicle tax, fuel cess, and masala bonds. These funds fueled various projects, including national highway development, providing a crucial boost to the state's infrastructure initiatives.

KIFB has become a cornerstone for initiating numerous ambitious projects, such as the state waterway connecting 11 districts from Kovalam to Bekal and the development of hilly coastal highways that run parallel to national highway projects. These include a multitude of construction works encompassing roads, bridges, school buildings, and more, aiming to revolutionize infrastructure development in the state. However, concerns arise about the current status and progress of the projects undertaken by KIFB in light of ongoing financial challenges.

However, it has been alleged that many of these actions have been dragging on for the past few days. The crisis worsened after the central government brought KIIFB under the borrowing limit of the state. KIIFB argues that although the Center's strictness is a problem, it has not started affecting the projects undertaken. However, the contractors who took up the KIIFB work are saying that this argument is wrong. Many approached the court after the bill did not change even after one year of completion of the construction.

Unlike some other projects, the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) is marked by a thorough examination process. However, KIIFB CEO and former Chief Secretary KM Abraham said that KIIFB has provided assurances that construction can proceed swiftly without being hindered by bureaucratic obstacles and funds will be promptly released to contractors. 

The state government formed KIIFB in 1999 with the aim of infrastructure development, but it was only after the Pinarayi government came to power in 2016 that it started raising funds and undertaking large-scale projects. So far, KIIFB has raised Rs 23,670 crore from national and international agencies, financial markets and other sources. Rs 73851 crores of projects in 986 projects were sanctioned. 

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