Mar 7: With Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) backing out of the proposed Light Metro Rail projects proposed in Thiruvanathapuram and Kozhikode, the fate of the two important projects that will ease traffic congestion and improve public transportation in these cities now hangs in the balance.
E Sreedharan, Chief Advisor to DMRC, has said that the State Government had shown lack of interest in pursuing the project as it had failed to forward the Detailed Project Report (DPR) submitted by DMRC to the Union Government. The DPR was submitted to the government in November last and the ‘Metro Man’ had given many suggestion to the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to expedite the clearance from the centre. With the tardy progress in implementation of the project work, DMRC is no longer interested in pursuing the project, according to E Sreedharan.
When the project was being de-railed by red tapism, it was the enthusiasm of E Sreedharan that raised the hopes of the project becoming a reality. It was the previous UDF Government under the leadership of Chief Minister Oomen Chandy the light metro rail projects were mooted to ease traffic congestion and keeping in mind the future traffic growth in these cities. The project was expected to cover a distance to link Pallipuram and Pappanamcode in Thiruvananthapuram distrct and Meenchanta and Medical College in Kozhikode district at a combined cost of Rs 6800 cr.
Last July, a special meeting convened by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had decided to go ahead with the Light Metro Project and entrusted Mr Sreedharan to identify the suitable technology and systems to be implemented for the project. Subsequently, DMRC submitted the DPR in November but has now backed out of the project due to lack of interest on the part of the state government.
In Kozhikode, the land required for the project was 10.05 hectares of whcih 1.5 hectares is privately owned. The 13.30 km project was expected to tbe completed by 2021. Now with DMRC closing down their offices in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, the future of the project looks uncertain as the government needs to identify a new consultant for the project.
The construction of overbridges for the light metro proejct in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode have already started and it remains to be seen whether DMRC pullout will have any impact on its progrress.
Even though the government is free to choose a new consultant in place of DMRC and pursue the project, the going may be tough as no other agency may have the capability and resourceful people like E Sreedharan to take the project to its conclusion. It was the expertise, managemnet skills of DMRC under the leadership of E Sreedharan that helped complete the first and second phase of Kochi Metrol Rail project in record time.
Minister Sudhakaran’s Remarks
Meanwhile, G Sudhakaran, Kerala Public Works Minister remarked that E Sreedharan had no authority to issue directive on government policy decisions and he should not be using his good will to tell the government what it should do. The Minsiter said that as per the new Metro Policy of the Union Government, the projects have to be implemented wtih private participation and LDF government couldn’t agree with it.
Many observers felt that the Ministers observations were unfortunate and out of place considering the contributions E Sreedharan had made for the transportation infrastructure in Kerala and rest fo the country.
The Metro Policy aims to achieve 700 km of metro railway network in the country and implement the system in 50 cities. The new polciy greater private participation, innovative financing, value capital finance and provides more options for financing by the government for the creation of Metro rail infrastructure. This will go a long way in further boosting the growth of Metro rail,