Express News Service
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The departure of migrant labourers in large numbers to take part in the poll process in West Bengal and Assam has hit the construction of Mukkola-Karode stretch of the NH 66 near Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. Due to the shortage of labourers, the deadline for commissioning the project which was scheduled for May end is likely to be delayed.
In addition to the dearth of labourers, the delay on the part of the district administration to grant approval to carry out work during night hours has also affected the pace of development. However, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is optimistic of commissioning the 16.3-km stretch work by May itself. The NHAI officials will meet District Collector Navjot Singh Khosa on Monday to discuss the issue of getting approval for works during night hours.
“February to May period is ideal for construction activities owing to good weather condition. As labourers in large numbers had gone for elections in West Bengal and Assam, the work has remained affected since March last week. Some of them have started returning and the work will be in full throttle soon. We expect a positive outcome from the meeting with the district administration on carrying out works during night hours,” said P Pradeep, project manager, NHAI.
According to the NHAI, only the work on the Chenkal-Thirupuram 2-km stretch is pending and the work on the remaining 14 km is over. A large quantity of red earth is needed for filling land in the stretch. The NHAI has started procuring earth from various sources.
Once the 16.3km road is opened, commuters coming from North Kerala could bypass Thiruvananthapuram city for going to Tamil Nadu via Kanyakumari, saving time, unaffected by traffic congestion. The stretch will also enable the smooth transportation of containers and trucks once the Vizhinjam International Seaport is operational as another road construction is in progress connecting the port and the NH bypass.
Earlier, insufficient number of labourers due to the pandemic had hit the project. L&T, which is executing the work, is also developing the remaining part of the bypass that extends to Kanyakumari. The road widening project began in July 2017.