A decision on starting work on Kochi Metro project would now have to wait after Chief Minister Oommen Chandy postponed a trip to Delhi.
He was scheduled to travel to the national capital later this week to meet Kamal Nath, Minister for Urban Development, and Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi.
The Delhi Government holds 50 per cent stake in Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the contractor of choice for implementing the Kochi Metro project.
Chandy is determined to find a ‘political solution’ to the issue and was scheduled to meet even the Prime Minister during his stay on Wednesday and Thursday.
The trip has been cancelled mainly because the non-availability of Kamal Nath, who is travelling abroad.
During an earlier meeting, the Union Minister had told the Chief Minister that DMRC was not in a position to spare resources for Kochi.
This had apparently upended the State Government’s plans for the dream metro rail project, which had come to entirely depend on the execution skills of DMRC.
The State Government has all along maintained that DMRC, led earlier by E. Sreedharan, would implement the project.
The current standstill is attributed to a decision by the DMRC director board to secure its own approval before the metro rail operator undertakes work outside Delhi.
E. Sreedharan, who is now involved in the Kochi Metro project as a principal adviser, too was scheduled to travel to Delhi along with the Chief Minister.
Elias George, current managing director of special purpose vehicle Kochi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (KMRL), would join them later.
But all plans seem to have come to a naught with sources doubting if the meeting would take place ahead of Diwali.
Meanwhile, Sreedharan took a survey of a few project sites in Kochi on Monday.
He assessed paper work that the Kochi unit of DMRC had prepared to start civil works and also interacted with project personnel deployed at the spot.
DMRC is currently engaged in constructing a four-lane bridge in place of the existing two-lane one in the north of the city.
He asked engineers to expedite works so that lanes one and four can be opened to traffic this month as per schedule.
Kochi Bureau adds: Kochi Metro Rail Ltd handed over Rs 10 crore to the district administration for land acquisition. Priority will be given to those who have offered consent to hand over the land.
“Land acquisition is the primary target for KMRL now as without the land in hand we cannot move further. We are trying to complete the land acquisition process as fast as possible so that we can be ready for construction at the earliest,” Elias George, MD, KMRL, said in a statement.
KMRL has asked for Rs 80 crore more for land acquisition and the Finance Department is considering the requisition on a priority basis, he added.