Thiruvananthapuram: The proposed state-of-the-art KSRTC interstate bus terminal-cum-commercial complex at Enchakkal is likely to be delayed. Though KIIFCON, the project’s executing agency, a subsidiary of the KIIFB (Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board), called a tender to select the private partner for the project two months ago, the KSRTC management reportedly stopped all the proceedings for the time being to prioritize other projects.
Sources close to the project said the state govt may move forward with the tender process only after completing other prioritized projects by the transport department and KSRTC. The tender’s last date was April 18, and KIIFCON officials had mentioned that the tender would be finalized once the model code of conduct was lifted. However, the file was returned to the KSRTC.
This long-standing project was pushed into cold storage for several years and was revived recently when former transport minister and local MLA Antony Raju entrusted KIIFCON with its execution. After Raju’s tenure ended and KB Ganesh Kumar took over as minister, several changes were made within KSRTC, causing the project to be put on hold again, according to sources.
“I was the one who brought the project back into focus. The proceedings had started, but now everything is at a standstill. We cannot abandon the project. I hope the new minister will expedite the proceedings to revive it as soon as possible,” said Raju.
KIIFCON issued the request for proposal (RFP) for the project on January 22, seeking a private partner to implement it under a public-private partnership (PPP) model on a design, build, finance, operate, and transfer (DBFOT) basis.
As an advisor to KSRTC, KIIFCON proposed that the terminal-cum-commercial complex would span 5.79 acres at Enchakkal. The bid document specified that the bus terminal should be operational within 24 months of construction commencement.
Meanwhile, KSRTC CMD Pramoj Sankar said no decision has been made regarding the project. “We can’t say that the project is on hold. However, no decision has been taken so far, and the file has been returned to KSRTC,” he stated.
According to the proposal, the terminal will feature six bays accommodating 30 buses simultaneously, with parking space for 60 buses. Solar panels will be installed on the terminal’s rooftop in later development stages. Passenger amenities will include a ticketing area, waiting lounges (paid and non-paid), drinking water facilities, CCTVs, and a cloakroom. Additionally, a rest area with dormitories and a canteen will be provided for bus staff and crew.