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A recent report of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras that said the multi-storey twin complex was unfit and unsafe for operations and required immediate renovation has sparked off a dispute

The plight of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) terminal complex constructed at the cost of ₹74.63 crore on the Mavoor Road in Kozhikode city in Kerala has acquired a political dimension with the Congress-led UDF taking on the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF over its alleged mismanagement.

What sparked off a dispute is a recent report of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) that said the multi-storey twin complex was unfit and unsafe for operations and required immediate renovation. Other political parties, including the BJP, have also stepped up their agitations demanding a judicial investigation into the construction of the terminal, which was inaugurated with much fanfare by former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in June 2015.

District-level Congress leaders alleged that the Kerala Transport Development Finance Corporation (KTDFC), a non-banking financial company fully owned by the State government had decided to hand over the terminal complex to Mukkom-based company ALIF Builders for commercial purposes, knowing fully well the contents of the IIT-M report. Large-scale corruption was involved in the construction of the multi-crore project and the leasing of the commercial space, DCC president K. Praveen Kumar said.

In July this year, ALIF Builders reached an agreement with the KTDFC to invest ₹17 crore as non-refundable security deposit and pay a monthly rent of ₹43 lakh for the commercial space. The company has secured the contract for 30 years. Apparently, the deal was stuck following the intervention of Ministers P.A. Mohamed Riyas and Antony Raju, and Kozhikode North legislator Thottathil Raveendran.

Parallels with Palarivattom

Now, the Opposition parties have likened the KSRTC twin towers to the brand new Palarivattom flyover in Kochi being demolished and a new one built after it was declared unfit and unsafe. The complex has a space of 3,87,747 sq.ft., with the first tower having 10 floors and the second 11 floors, including space for parking.

The Congress and the BJP, which took out protest marches to the KSRTC bus station, have decided to step up their agitations in the coming days. Both have demanded that the government make public the IIT-M expert panel report on the structural flaws in the construction of the terminal.

BJP district president V.K. Sajeevan said that a conspiracy has been hatched to relocate the bus station from Mavoor Road permanently and turn the KSRTC complex into a fully private commercial hub.