Urban Ministry interfering in DMRC functioning, says MP

Vested interests from the State and the Centre are deliberately delaying the commencement of Kochi Metro’s works, P Rajeev, MP, has said.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy owes an explanation on the project suffering inordinate delay, since works on metro rail in other cities are fast progressing. “All of them were mooted years after the Kochi Metro’s project report was ready. New rules are being framed and frivolous objections are being raised to keep the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) away from the Kochi Metro,” he told presspersons here on Saturday.

Mr. Rajeev said that work on the Jaipur metro (being implemented by DMRC) was on.

Its detailed project report was submitted in 2010, whereas Kochi Metro’s report was ready in 2005.

He further said that Kochi Metro’s works could have achieved considerable progress by now had the State government handed over its implementation to DMRC on a nomination basis. “This route was adopted for the Jaipur Metro and also for railway works in Kolkata.”

On its part, Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) did not initiate steps to ink a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with DMRC, despite DMRC handing over to it a draft MoU in February. It had all the details of the works that could be divided between the two agencies.

These two glaring omissions contributed to the present stalemate about DMRC’s role in the project. The DMRC Director Board’s decision in October that its permission was a must for the agency undertaking works outside of Delhi, had made matters worse, he said.

Elaborating further, Mr. Rajeev said the letter written by Tom Jose, former MD of KMRL, to Union Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna seeking a clarification on DMRC principal advisor E. Sreedharan’s role in Kochi Metro, proved that attempts were made from within the State to scuttle the involvement of DMRC and Mr. Sreedharan in the metro, Mr. Rajeev said.

The MP has been spearheading the campaign to speed up the metro’s works, by handing over the project to DMRC.

He blamed vested interests for the project getting entangled in bureaucratic and other wrangles.

“In fact, DMRC has in writing delegated full powers to Mr. Sreedharan to supervise the execution of the metro, ” he said.

To a question on whether the Union Urban Development Ministry’s interference was stifling DMRC’s works, he said that a huge lobby was at work to shackle the agency. “This was not the situation when Mr. Sreedharan was its Managing Director.

Higher-ups in the Ministry, who have little technical expertise, are now unduly interfering in DMRC’s functioning.”

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