'Sreedharan should oversee Kochi Metro project'

Kochi: With controversy brewing over Kerala government's proposal to go in for global tender for the Rs 5,000 crore Kochi Metro project, another Union minister has come out in favour of the project, being executed under aegis of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and its former head E Sreedharan.

Kochi Metro project was first mooted during the tenure of AK Antony when he was Chief Minister.

Union Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs KV Thomas told reporters here he personally felt DMRC should be asked to undertake the project and that Sreedharan should oversee it.

The Minister said planning commission Vice-Chairman Montek Singh Aluhwalia is expected to be here on January 11 and 12 after which a decision would be taken on the project.

Thomas urged the state government to complete the project in a transparent manner and added that Infopark at Kakkanad has also sought extension of the Metro project to the IT hub.

Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi had told reporters at Kannur yesterday that his personal view was that the government should enlist the co-operation of DMRC and Sreedharan to execute such a major project.

Thomas said the Centre proposes to have a two-year buffer food stock against the present minimum buffer stocks.

He said he would visit Tamil Nadu to hold talks with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on the state's objections over the Food security Bill. "I will address the issue with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister," he said, adding Tamil Nadu had raised certain objections at a later stage.