Delay in land acquisition and the (KMRL Director Board’s) decision to retender procurement of 75 coaches might delay the commissioning of Kochi Metro, DMRC’s Principal Advisor E. Sreedharan said on Tuesday.

The metro is scheduled for commissioning by June 2016.

After the foundation stone-laying ceremony of Pachalam overbridge, he said the civil and allied works on the Aluva-MG Road stretch could be completed as per schedule. He said there was concern about carrying forward the Metro works on the MG Road-Pettah portion, especially since the acquisition process had not begun for four-laning the narrow Vyttila-Pettah Road, he said.

Though it was claimed that 31 of the 40 hectares of land needed for constructing metro’s via duct was acquired in record time, land acquisition is yet to begin in another narrow corridor — Jos Junction-Ernakulam Junction railway station stretch. Narrow portions of Baneerjee Road, MG Road and SA Road too are yet to be widened. This has led to traffic bottlenecks around metro work sites. Steps have not been taken to identify and remove encroachers either.

Though the deadline for land acquisition was extended to March 2014, much remains to be done in terms of follow-up action.

Coach retender

On retendering of coaches (much against DMRC’s wishes), Mr Sreedharan said this might delay coach procurement by another five months.

On the feasibility of high-speed rail corridor (HSRC), he said developing the State’s existing road and rail network was tough and time-consuming. Land acquisition would be minimal for the corridor. The project was expected to gain impetus shortly, Mr. Sreedharan said.

Earlier in the day, he said the tender for Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode mono rails would be finalised in two months.

A high-ranking Kochi Metro official said widening of Vyttila-Pettah Road may take time.

“Metro’s first phase could be confined to Aluva-Vyttila. Vytilla-Tripunithura could be taken up as extended phase one of the project. This will give us some breathing time to focus on ‘phase one up to Vyttila’. Vyttila-Pettah-SN Junction (Tripunithura) Road can be widened as a single project. Already, the State government has earmarked Rs. 70 crore for widening Vytilla-Pettah Road,” he said.

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