CM’s nod to Kerala’s light metro rail projects; work to start soon

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Thiruvanananthapuram | Updated: August 3, 2016 6:49:59 AM

The ground preparation for the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation's two elevated light metro rail projects in Kerala is set to begin in a month or two, especially the one in state capital Thiruvananthapuram.

The ground preparation for the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s two elevated light metro rail projects in Kerala is set to begin in a month or two, especially the one in state capital Thiruvananthapuram.

The state cabinet has been studying the flyover designs for Thiruvananthapuram light metro corridor, put out by DMRC, to give administrative clearance for civil work by mid-August.

“The chief minister has agreed, in principle, to DMRC’s suggestion that preparatory work like road-widening and construction of flyovers should start at the earliest since time escalation would turn out to cost escalation. The state cabinet is taking a call on the designs,” E Sreedharan, principal advisor to DMRC, told FE.

“Secondly, I’ve also urged the state government to rush the details on the light metro rail to the Union ministry of urban affairs as the project is yet to get final clearance for lack of relevant details. While this paper-work is on, the ground preparation work could make some headway,” he said.

DMRC is the interim consultant for the light metro project to Kerala Rapid Transit Corporation (KRTL) that executes the project. Two  Kerala cites – Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode – have been readying with elevated light metro plans, while Kochi went for metro rail.  The Comprehensive Mobilitiy Plan of the two cities, with an outlay of Rs 6,728 crore, has been with the ministry of urban affairs since September 2015. The 21.82-km Technocity-Karamana stretch in Thiruvananthapuram, with 19 stations, is estimated to cost Rs 4,219 crore. As much as 2.27 hectares of land has to be acquired and 163 buildings have to be shifted for three flyovers. This would need about Rs 272.68 crore.

The state government has made budgetary provision to the tune of R200 crore for the preparatory work. In Kozhikode, for its 13.33-km elevated light metro project with 14 stations, the state government will have to garner Rs 2,509 crore for land acquisition alone.

However, the citizen groups are of the opinion that it is the quality of roads that needs  to be addressed before any Light Metro project. This could stall the priority on the Kozhikode project. “We are yet to make any decision on turnkey consultancy agreement,” said state PWD minister G Sudhakaran.

DMRC and KRTL had discussions with the JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) officials for step loans.

At 0.4% interest, the loan repayment tenure is spread across 40 years. While JICA has offered to bear 85% cost, state has to bring in R1,167 crore and the Centre R826 crore for the project. Alternatively, a domestic borrowing option is also under consideration.

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