The director board of Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) has decided to conduct a feasibility study on extending the light rail line to Tripunithura, Kakkanad, Angamaly, and Fort Kochi.

The 10th director board meeting of the KMRL, held in New Delhi on Tuesday, decided to seek Expression of Interest (EoI) from firms for the feasibility study. The proposal is to extend the Aluva-MG Road-Pettah line to Angamaly via the international airport and to Fort Kochi through Mattancherry, and to connect Aluva with Tripunithura through Kakkanad in a loop. The proposed extensions are expected to increase the passenger patronage for the system of mass rapid transport.

There has been intense demand from members of the public and air passengers to extend the metro to Angamaly, a busy town located north of the airport, and to Kakkanad, which houses the civil station, industrial units under the Special Economic Zone, the Infopark, and the proposed SmartCity.

To help commuters

The proposed Aluva-Angamaly stretch comes to 13 km, the Palarivattom-Kakkanad stretch 10 km, and the Jos Junction- Mattancherry- Fort Kochi stretch 12 km. The new lines are expected to help commuters, besides thousands of islanders and tourists. The extensions are likely to be done in the subsequent phases of the metro project. The KMRL will then be fully equipped with the expertise gained from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which executes the 25-km Aluva-Pettah project. The feasibility study will cover potential passenger patronage in these routes and allied aspects, sources associated with the project said.

The proposed extensions will result in the congested city expanding towards the north, east, and southwest.

The board also decided to invite EoI for conducting a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and for preparing a resettlement and rehabilitation plan for the Kochi Metro Rail. An Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) had been conducted for the project by the School of Environmental Studies under the Cochin University of Science and Technology in 2005, as part of the detailed project report preparation for the DMRC.

While this contains a brief SIA, it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive assessment afresh, which would form the basis for preparing a comprehensive rehabilitation plan.

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