Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Looking back at 2007 (Part II)

Last time, we looked back at what I had predicted for 2007, what happened and what didn't.

Now, let me take a stab at what we can look forward to in 2008. For the sake of simplicity, we will make only five predictions. Lol, call it playing safe or prioritisation, as you wish.

1) Vizhinjam: The dream port has to be numero uno in any wish-list and the reasons are so familiar that I will not go into them again. Suffices to say that this is one project which can quite literally change the face of Trivandrum and Kerala.

With five consortia bidding for the project this time around, it seems fair to expect that one of them will be awarded the project by April or so. Financial closure and planning for the Rs 5320 Crore project will take close to a year at least. However, some of the preliminary work could start before that.

Expected Start Date: November/December 2008

2) Technocity: The bidding for Kerala's largest IT project is expected to be conducted by April/May 2008. The Govt. plans to split the 450 Acre project into multiple plots of different sizes and to award it to many bidders. Design and approvals for the project will take atleast 6 months, so work can be expected towards the end of the year.

Expected Start Date: October/November 2008

3) New International Terminal/Air India Hangar: The Airport has been one of the rare places where work has progressed pretty much on schedule. The New Terminal Phases I & II are heading for scheduled completion by September 2008. Work on the Air India MRO complex should also be completed towards the end of the year.

Expected Start Date: September/October 2008

4) IIST and IISER: Classes at the IIST have already started and those at the IISER are to start this academic year at the CET campus. With strong interest in the State Government and even stronger pressure from the Centre and the public, construction of the campuses for the two world-class institutes - for the IIST at Ponmudi and Valiamala and for the IISER at Vithura - should also start soon.

Expected Start Date: June/July 2008

5) Road and Rail Projects: The much-delayed Capital Road Development Project is back on its feet. Once the contractor has finished re-mobilisation, work should start off in March/April. The upgradation of the Trivandrum Central station to international standards should be tendered out towards the middle of the year along with the other 16 stations selected for upgradation. Work on the suburban services planned between Trivandrum and Kollam, as well as on the expansion of the Kochuveli Terminal should also start in a few months.

Expected Start Date: April/May 2008

There are host of other projects like the TCS and UST development centres, Raheja-Marriott convention centre, Plaza Centre complex, Condor mall, Kshitij mall, Unitech mall and the DLF-Hilton luxury hotel which should start work in the first half of 2008, but they come outside the category of "vital projects".

Unlike last year, when it was a 50-50 affair as to what happened and what lagged, I believe that 2008 will be better in a pronounced manner. From the happenings of the last two months, it seems that the fortunes of our city are on the upswing!

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