St. Albert's College dead against ceding its playground at Kaloor, which is planned to host metro’s corporate office, operation control centre and station

The nerve centre of Kochi Metro’s operations will be affected if a portion of St Albert’s College Ground at Kaloor is denied to it.

At stake is the location of the metro’s corporate office, operation control centre and metro station planned near international stadium. The ground will also occupy centre stage when the metro is extended to Kakkanad in the project’s second phase.

Metro stakeholders said the proposal to house the OCC and station here dates back to 2010 and finds mention in Kochi Metro’s detailed project report. “Later, it was suggested that the corporate office and OCC be shifted to a multi-storied complex envisaged at Jos Junction or to land within South Railway station premises. After these proposals were not found feasible, it was decided to go by the original plan,” they said.

With protests against takeover of St Albert’s College ground snowballing, it was up to Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) to take a final call on the issue, they said. On why government land located in the vicinity of international stadium is not being acquired for the purpose, sources said this was not feasible because the alignment possibly have to take a steep turn.

They spoke of how the corporate office and OCC must ideally be located next to each other so that there is coordinated response to any emergency. “This has been done in Delhi Metro. The structure must be big enough, foreseeing future extension of the metro to Kakkanad.

Another open space that will be partially acquired for the metro is a portion of Maharaja’s College Ground. Here too, students had opposed the acquisition. Metro officials said only a tiny portion of the ground would be taken over, which would not affect the playground.

They reassured that land acquisition for metro stations would be very minimal. “This is because most of the stations would be located on the viaduct itself. A few cents of land will be required on the side for the landing area and booking office.”

President of Kerala Football Association K.M.I. Mather said Kerala does not have much land and allied infrastructure for sports. “We have some big tournaments coming up in the next few years in the State. We have sent a request to the State government that existing grounds should not be used for other purposes.”

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