: Kochi Metro Rail's extension plan has got a major boost with a French funding agency agreeing to provide a loan of around 175 million Euros for the project.
A Kochi Metro Rail (KMRL) spokesperson said the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) has offered to fund the metro rail's extension from JLN Stadium to Infopark via Kakkanad.
Considering it as a special case, the French agency agreed to extend the loan for a longer tenure of 25 years at an interest rate of 1.35 per cent.
The normal tenure for such loans for urban infrastructure is presently 20 years.
"It is a matter of pride for Kochi Metro Rail Limited that AFD has agreed to this offer. This is an indication of the funding agency's faith in KMRL's capabilities and its objectives", said Elias George, Managing Director, KMRL.
The loan also includes a component of EUR 22 million for the non-motorised transportation works at 20 stations, pedestrianisation of M G Road and junction improvement in Aluva, Edapally and Vyttila.
Discussion on the proposed extension of Kochi Metro Rail project from JLN Stadium to Infopark via Kakkanad over a distance of 11.2 km at a cost of Rs 2,024 crore was held at the seventh Annual Negotiation Meeting between the Ministry of Finance, Government of India and AFD at Paris on November 9 and 10.
The meeting was attended by KMRL Managing Director Elias George and S Selvakumar, Joint Secretary (ABC) in the Finance Ministry.
"It was also decided in the meeting that even though the Kakkanad extension proposal is yet to be formally approved by the Government of India, AFD have also agreed, as a very special case, to procure all their formal Board approvals even before the extension proposal is administratively sanctioned by the Government of India, so that no time is lost in launching implementation of the project,"a KMRL release said.
It is expected that AFD's Board will clear the proposal in December 2016, it added.
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