Barely three months after Metro Man E Sreedharan and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) backed out of the Rs7,500-crore Light Metro Rail projects in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, the Kerala government has started scouting for a new consultant.
The three proposed flyovers in the Kerala capital to support the Light Metro will, however, retain the designs prescribed by the DMRC team.
“Tender procedures to identify the new consultant are under way,” a senior official of the KRTC (Kerala Rapid Transport Corporation) told FE. The state government last week assigned the KRTC with the task of finding an appropriate consultant to replace the DMRC.
The project is to cover 35.12 km in two cities. Of the three flyovers for the Thiruvananthapuram Light Metro, the socioeconomic impact study for one is over and land acquisition has begun. The same survey for the second flyover is on, while the third is yet to proceed beyond the design board.
The DMRC had got out of the partnership, disturbed by the slowness in getting the project forward. The exit was caused by the state government’s reluctance to ink the turnkey consultancy contract for preparatory works of the transit system even 14 months after the DMRC had undertaken the consultancy, according to a letter that Sreedharan wrote to K Kamalavardhana Rao, state principal secretary (public works).
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who later admitted that he was unable to give an appointment to Sreedharan at the right time because of “heavy workload”, insisted that there was no rift with the 88-year- old technocrat.
“What he discounted, perhaps, was that the set of new rules of the Centre mandated a revised DPR (detailed project report). Unless the state gets Centre’s approval for the revised DPR, the latter’s share of Rs 1,278 crore would fall as an extra liability on the shoulders of the state government. However, the Kerala government has not shelved the Light Metro plan.”
Following the delay, the Rs 6,728-crore project has suffered cost escalation, making the project size as high as Rs 7,500 crore. According to the proposal, the Light Metro rail in Thiruvananthapuram was to be live by 2020.