KMRL’s corporate office too envisaged at the site

Kochi metro’s Operations’ Control Centre (OCC) will come up near the coach maintenance yard in Muttom near Aluva.

The metro’s Ernakulam South station will be built behind Ernakulam Girls’ High School, where Kochi Corporation has some land. The decision follows the Railway’s refusal to bring down the Rs. 300-crore compensation package for a 35-year-old lease of around three acres of land for the OCC, metro’s Ernakulam South station and other amenities on the southern side of Ernakulam Junction railway station.

“The two key decisions were taken after many rounds of discussions between Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) officials, since the two structures cannot be delayed any further. Attempts to prevail on the Railway to reduce the compensation package failed. (The amount of ) Rs. 300 crore works out to about eight per cent of the metro’s project cost,” metro sources said.

Though the extent of Railway land required was reduced from 21,000 sq. metres to 4,360 sq. metres, the Railway insisted that structures housing 90 staff quarters and its running-crew bungalow (where loco drivers and guards take rest) had to be rebuilt by the KMRL, they said.

Metro alignment

Metro’s alignment will pass through the station and exit near South overbridge as planned, though the OCC and the station will not come up on the railway station premises. “This is because the metro has right of way, which adheres to the Railway’s standard protocol. The elevated metro viaduct will in no way affect functioning of the railway station, since land is required only at frequent intervals for pillars. This is a win-win proposition for metro stakeholders and the Railway,” said Elias George, managing director of KMRL.

By shifting out the station from Railway land, KMRL’s expenses on the structure will be limited to just around Rs.10 crore. Muttom is considered a safer location for the OCC since it is located away from the main road. Metro’s corporate office too has been envisaged alongside it. As per the original proposal, the OCC was to come up on a portion of St. Albert’s College ground in Kaloor.

“The only problem with having OCC at Muttom is that it is near the extreme end of metro alignment and not centrally located. But it will come in handy when the metro is extended to Angamaly and international airport,” DMRC sources said.

With the distance between Ernakulam South metro station and the adjacent railway station increasing, DMRC sources highlighted the need for a skywalk between the two structures so that commuters would not have to walk through narrow footpaths.

More In: Kochi