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Clearance for Kochi Metro expected by June end

Final clearance for the much-awaited Rs 5,181 crore Kochi Metro Rail project was expected by this month-end, a top project official said.



Kochi: Final clearance for the much-awaited Rs 5,181 crore Kochi Metro Rail project was expected by this month-end, a top project official said on Tuesday.

The Cabinet note was being prepared and as soon as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returns from his foreign tour, the matter would be taken up and the approval was expected by this month-end, Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) Managing Director Tom Jose told reporters.

All efforts would be made to complete the project in four years and if possible reduce it further.

The logo of the Kochi Metro `Comet` will be released by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on June 30, he said.

After the Central clearance, Reconstitution of the board would be essential as it is a state owned PSU now and Central Government`s directors will have to come on board.

A tripartite agreement between the Union Government, Kerala Government and Kochi Metro has to be drawn up. This is the model being followed in Delhi, Chennai and Banglore metros.
The Central and state governments would be sharing 15 per cent each of the equity component while 70 per cent would be the debt portion, of which 45 per cent is being contributed by the Japan Investment Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The first phase of the project, a Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) running on elevated light rail, covers 25.612 km long Aluva-Petta Corridor which will have 22 stations.

KMRL was also looking into the proposal of linking boat service to Metro rail project in line with the National Transportation Policy which suggests integration of various modules of transportation, he said.

He maintained Delhi Metro Rail Corporation was the project partner and no issues were involved. "It is a team work. We are taking their service in design, tendering, consultancy and expertise," he said describing DMRC as a "valued partner".

KMRL plans to have a dedicated police force which can handle emergency situations since the Metro was vulnerable to terror attacks. The modalities were being worked out, he said.

KMRL was also planning to reconstruct and refurbish the
Edapally canal. "We will have barges and boats for tourists. The Edapally station will be designed to connect water, road and rail services. There will also be a jetty," Jose said.

Walk ways, IT parks, restaurants, kiosks were also planned on the bank of the canal, Jose said, adding all these works can be simultaneously taken up with the Kochi Metro project.
Jose said discussions in this regard had been held with the Urban Development Secretary and he had expressed interest.This type of project is not there in any other Metro rail developed so far.

There are also plans to have Smart cards for train, bus and boat services so that passengers need not purchase separate tickets while travelling. Ultimate service was to integrate taxies and autorickshaws also, he said.

Pointing that KMRL was also eyeing the possibility of using property development as another alternative source of revenue, he said, "We are also proposing a Metro city in Kakkanad and government has agreed to transfer about 33 acres to KMRC".

The objective is to generate business Model which will give maximum additional revenue to the company.

A train repair and cleaning yard is also proposed at Muttam near aluva. The plan is to develop the area as a Metropolis. About 100 acres land will be needed for the same, Jose said.

On expansion, he said any metro should be a network and expansion would have to be there. "We want the first set of approvals to come".

Pointing that there are lot of suggestions for the expansion, Jose said extending it to Angamally, Nedumbassery Airport and to Tripunithura are among the suggestions. There was also demand for extension upto West Kochi, which was however, a very expensive proposal, he said.

KMRL was also looking into the possibility of extending the Metro rail project to Infopark in Kakkanad, the IT hub of the city, he said.

PTI

From Zee News

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