To start work within two months of receiving statutory clearances

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will be the general consultants for the Rs 5,200-crore Kochi Metro Rail project.

This was decided after talks between the Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, and a visiting former DMRC Managing Director, Mr E. Sreedharan, held here on Thursday.

Mr Sreedharan was here to attend a meeting of the Kerala State Planning Board, of which he is a Member.

ENDS UNCERTAINTY

The Chief Minister told newspersons that a formal communication would be sent to the DMRC giving it an update on the project status and nature of its involvement.

This also brings to a closure the ambiguity surrounding the project after Mr Sreedharan made it known that he would not like to be associated unless the DMRC was assigned the role it had wanted for itself.

His argument was that a fledgling Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) may not have the technical competence to take up a massive infrastructural project of such dimensions.

On its part, the State Government was apprehensive if it would forfeit the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) loan being made available ‘on easy terms.'

JICA CONDITION

JICA had also said the loan would be granted only if a global tender was floated to ensure total transparency in the procedures for selecting consultants.

Mr Sreedharan's counter has been that the DMRC would float the global tender in its capacity as project consultants.

This was agreeable even to JICA with whom Mr Sreedharan has had consultations in this regard.

DMRC enjoyed the full confidence of the Japanese lender, which was more than willing to promote the case of any infrastructure project that it might to choose to involve itself in.

BEYOND DOUBT

On Thursday, the Chief Minister sought to make it beyond the shade of doubt that the DMRC, and by extension Mr Sreedharan, would be associated with the prestigious Kochi Metro project.

All related issues, including the preparation of the tender document and flotation of the same, are now left to the DMRC wisdom, he added.

Mr Sreedharan told newspersons that DMRC would be able to start work within two months of receiving the statutory clearances.

He expressed the confidence that he would get globally acknowledged contractors to execute the project in a matter of three years, a full year less than the originally mandated period.

PROJECT STRUCTURE

The KMRL's structure is expected to change once the Centre sanctioned the project.

The Centre would appoint its Chairman, while the Managing Director would be appointed by the State.

There would be equal number of directors from the Centre and the State. Mr Sreedharan has agreed to take up the capacity as Chairman of KMRL, when ‘it comes to it.'

The State Government would make a special request to the Centre on this, the Chief Minister said. vinson@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 12, 2012)
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