The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will execute the Rs 5,200-crore Kochi project. This will be implemented under the supervision of E Sreedharan, who is also principal adviser to the DMRC, according to Union urban development minister Kamal Nath.
After a high-level meeting of ministers and senior officials of the ministry, DMRC, Kochi Metro Rail Limited and Kerala government, he said the DMRC would have the full responsibility of executing the project, including inviting global tender and technical support.
The first phase, 25-km long stretch from Aluva to Thripunithura (Petta), will be commissioned by 2016-17, he told the media.
Meanwhile, Sreedharan expressed satisfaction over today’s developments. “The government has allowed four years’ time to us, but we are looking at completing the project in three years,” he said. Chief minister Oommen Chandy said the project would be completed in time and the state government would provide all support to DMRC and Sreedharan.
Today’s meeting was also attended by Union ministers Vayalar Ravi and KV Thomas, state minister Aryadan Mohammed, urban development secretary Sudheer Krishna, DMRC managing director Manghu Singh and Kochi Metro managing director Elias George.
In December 2004, the Kerala government had assigned the DMRC the task of preparing a detailed project report for the Kochi project. It was expected to start by 2006 and complete by 2010. But the project was delayed as the Centre expressed serious doubts about its economic viability.
The state government had sought Centre’s assistance for the project to be built on the lines of Delhi Metro in terms of funding. However, the Centre was in favour of implementing it in public-private partnership mode, ruling out its own financial involvement. The Ministry of Urban Development and the Planning Commission were also against government investment in the project.
The political rivalry between the then LDF government and the UPA government at the Centre is said to be a reason for the slowdown in the project. The change in government in Kerala changed the scenario, making Kochi Metro one of the top priorities of the present UDF government.
In March 2012, the Public Investment Board gave clearance to the project and Union cabinet approved it. It was decided that the contribution from the Union government would be 20.26 per cent of the total cost, which works out to be Rs 1,002.23 crore
Kerala Public Works minister VK Ebrahim Kunju, meanwhile, indicated that work would be awarded by a global tender even though the initial ground work was started by DMRC. This created a year-long controversy. The chief minister denied the statement of the minister.
The DMRC has already completed the preparatory work on North ROB and work on Salim Rajan ROB is in the final stage now. Kochi Metro has given Rs 40 crore for reconstruction of side bays of North railway overbridge and Rs 20.77 crore for the construction of Salim Rajan overbridge.