In Metro Rail’s hunt for fund, it seems France and Japan might together bankroll the project.

Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) MD Elias George said it was probing the possibility of sourcing 50 per cent of the Rs 2,170-crore loan for Kochi Metro from the French financial agency Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the rest from Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

AFD is generally quicker than JICA in processing loan. “They are very pleased with the (Kochi) visit. We expect an in-principal clearance as early as April. If all goes well, the loan can be processed by the end of December or latest by January 2014,” said Mr George.

HUDCO loan

Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) has sanctioned Rs 800-crore loan to KMRL for land acquisition, for which over Rs 1,000 crore is required. The cost has to be borne by the State government.

The loans expected from AFD and JICA work out to about 42 per cent of the project cost. The State is expected to pool in Rs 2,009 crore (including land acquisition cost) and the Centre Rs 1,002 crore.

As part of the loan process, the AFD representatives wrapped up their pre-appraisal mission with KMRL on Tuesday. They had detailed discussions with Mr George and the Principal Advisor of DMRC, E. Sreedharan.

The team members — Aude Flogny, AFD’s Regional Director, South Asia and Gautier Kohler, Project Coordinator — India had checked out the Metro Rail’s alignment on Monday.

The AFD loan has a repayment tenure of 20 years and comes with a moratorium of 9 years. The interest rate is 2 per cent compared with JICA’s 1.40 per cent, says a press release issued by KMRL. JICA extends a 30-year moratorium.

The two agencies are finicky about land acquisition and rehabilitation plans. The French team has sought additional data on environment impact and traffic details, like the ridership expected to ascertain the Metro Rail’s sustainability.

They will meet Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Minister for Transport and Power Aryadan Muhammed on Wednesday at Thiruvananthapuram.

Sreedharan on loan

Mr Sreedharan told reporters at the venue that he was happy at the interaction with the AFD team.

On the Metro Rail’s civil works, he said DMRC had received tenders from three firms for the works. The contractor(s) will be finalised in April.

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