Larsen and Toubro (L and T) is getting ready to begin work on Kochi Metro Rail’s fifth pile near Changampuzha Park, amidst concerns about interference from regional level trade unions delaying the project’s piling works.

Sources associated with the metro said that piling work at the site suffered delays because construction workers owing allegiance to a few prominent trade unions demanded that they too be included in the workers’ pool. “Only skilled and semi-skilled workers are deployed for piling and related civil works. Training outside workers and deploying them is a time-consuming process and will affect the pace of metro works. It will also have a fall-out on safety at work sites.”

The District Secretary of the CPI(M) and former Mayor C.M. Dinesh Mani said that the issue was settled on Sunday and would not affect the progress of works for the metro.

Metro sources said the issue appears to be between the contracting firm and trade unions and hoped that it would be solved soon. On the delay in piling works, they said the workers’ issue and incessant rain together slowed down the works. “Moreover, L and T – which was awarded the work to build the metro’s viaduct and stations in between Aluva and international stadium at Kaloor, is in the process of mobilising men and material for the works. Once this is done, work will gain pace and more than one pile could be readied each day. This is because more stretches along the NH will be barricaded soon for piling.”

It was announced about three weeks ago that an average of one pile would be readied each day, so that the metro can be commissioned in 2016. Each pillar – located 25 metres apart, requires four piles.

KMRL board meeting

In the meantime, it is learnt that Kochi Metro Rail Limited’s director board meeting will be held on July 5. “Chalking out a relief and rehabilitation package for people who surrender land for the project and the metro’s proposed extensions to Kakkanad and international airport in the project’s phase two will be among the matters that will be discussed,” sources said.

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