Cong demands CBI probe into K-Fon as polls loom; govt says project is on track

National |  IANS  | Published :

Thiruvananthapuram, April 17 (IANS) Three days after the Leader of Opposition, VD Satheesan demanded a CBI probe into Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-Fon), a pet project of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, K-Fon authorities on Wednesday pointed out that the project was on the verge of becoming self-sustainable after fulfilling its financial liabilities.

VD Satheesan’s outburst came at a time when the state goes to Lok Sabha polls on April 26.

The Opposition had gone hammer and tongs against CM Vijayan for failing to implement the much-hyped project even after seven years of announcing it.

The Opposition parties alleged that one company that belonged to Vijayan’s relatives was the only beneficiary as it got the contract for it.

In their statement issued on Wednesday, K-Fon authorities pointed out that even though the initial cost was pegged at Rs 1,482 crore, the project was being operated only at a cost of Rs 791.29 crore.

“The project became operational with Rs. 488.40 crore from KIIFB instead of the originally earmarked Rs. 1,061.73 crore, Rs. 217.85 crore instead of Rs. 336 crore from the State Government and Rs. 85 crore from the Central Government. This feat was achieved through cost and network optimisation. The allocation from KIIFB was strictly based on the presentation of bills of expenses actually incurred,” said the K-Fon statement.

They further pointed out that K-Fon now aims to achieve sustainable operational success through Internet leased line, leasing of dark fibre, household commercial connections and connections to government offices.

“Out of the total practical possibilities of 28,888 km, 96 per cent of the cable laying has been completed. The Network Operating Centre (NOC) at Kakkanad and the 375 points of presence (POP) that ensure uninterrupted functioning have been fully operational,” K-Fon further pointed out.

K-Fon added that they could lease 10 to 14 core surplus fibres of the 48F OPGW/ADSS fibre laid for the network.

“This provides another revenue stream to K-Fon. Around 4,300 km dark fibres have been leased to various companies in this manner. The goal is to hit the 10,000 km landmark by September 2024 fetching anticipated revenue of Rs. 50 crore,” added the statement.

The authorities also pointed out that work was underway for offering connectivity to economically-backward households.

So far, free connections with a speed of 15 mbps have been made available to 5,734 households though Kerala Vision, which has agreed to meet its promise of covering 7,000 households.

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