As part of its efforts to make the metro rail commuter-friendly, the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) will appoint a nodal officer to ensure that the system of mass rapid transport is sensitive towards women, disabled persons and senior citizens.

KMRL MD Elias George said a Metro Advisory Group comprising eminent persons from sectors such as hospitality, industry and architecture would also be formed. The group will offer suggestions on how to improve the metro system and raise concerns, if any, about the project.

Mr. George said the metro would give a tremendous facelift to the city. “It will also increase the civic sense of people, like what happened in Delhi,” he said. It had also resulted in Transit Oriented Development (TOD) around the metro corridors.

Around the world, most metros are not profitable, except in places such as Hong Kong. But the biggest change the metro brings about is in the behaviour and cultural pattern of the people. Across the world people seek modernity and hence the revenue alone is not what matters, he said.

The metro also brings about tremendous economic growth. In Hong Kong, authorities made commercial use of the vertical space atop metro station buildings. The metro also increases the relative value of land. In Kochi, it would increase the value of land at Muttom and Palarivattom, he added.

Speaking on how the Urban Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) would streamline and boost public transport in the city, Mr. Elias said civic agencies such as the Greater Cochin Development Authority and Kochi Corporation should extend support to the project.

To a question on the extension of the metro to Tripunithura, Mr. Elias said it could involve an additional expense of about Rs. 300 crore. The director board, the Union Cabinet and the Empowered Group of Minsters for Metros headed by Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony have to give their nod for the extension, he said.

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