Thursday’s board meet is said to be crucial; delay in inking pact with DMRC had invited criticism
Finalising an agreement with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and determining the dimensions of coaches will be among the key points the Kochi Metro Rail Limited’s (KMRL) Director Board is expected to deliberate at its meeting here on Thursday.
A formal agreement between the two agencies is crucial since the project will have to be completed within three years of the pact. The delay in inking the agreement had invited criticism.
“The Director Board has already taken a decision on adopting communication-based train control (CBTC) technology for Kochi metro.
The Board meeting will decide on the length and other dimensions of coaches,” said Elias George, Managing Director, KMRL.
The cabin volume within the coaches may get reduced. By adopting the new technology, trains will be able to pass in each direction every 90 seconds and more number of commuters can be transported.
The technology will help the trains travel faster at steep curves. In all probability the trains will have three coaches to begin with, but services will be more frequent.
The sub committee for modernising the detailed project report of Kochi Metro had stated their preference for the technology which utilises the communication between the trains and equipments installed on the track for managing traffic. It helps identify the exact position of a train more accurately than traditional methods, which depend on signal systems. It was earlier decided to substitute overhead power lines with the third traction – lines laid parallel to the track, in keeping with the trend followed by most of the modern metro systems in the world.
The 11 Board meeting is also expected to take a call on how best to commercially develop 18 acres of land in Kakkanad, to raise revenue for the metro’s operation and maintenance and also for expanding it to suburban towns.
“The aim is to construct a vibrant urban recreational and utility centre, since the city is fast expanding to the east and north. A proper marriage between the two is important to ensure sound returns. A national-level entity will be entrusted with the task of chalking out a development plan of the land,” sources associated with the project said.
The Board is also expected to review the progress of negotiations with the French and Japanese financial agencies for obtaining loan for the metro.
The Kochi Metro Rail Limited is keen to equally divide the loan worth Rs. 2,170 crore (about 42 per cent of the project cost) between the two agencies. The DMRC had reiterated that timely handing over of land and funds are crucial for the completion of the metro works in time.
To a question on the metro’s proposed extensions to Tripunithura, Kakkanad and the international airport, sources said a few companies have responded to the expression of interest floated to do a feasibility study.
“A decision on this will be taken in a month,” the sources said.