The contractual agreement between Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on the Kochi Metro, expected to be signed by month-end, may take more time.

It was slated to be inked in keeping with the KMRL’s Director Board meeting on February 28 or even earlier. Sources associated with the project said the delay in finalising the agreement would not affect the progress of the metro’s preparatory and civil works.

The DMRC’s Principal Advisor E. Sreedharan had reiterated here a week ago that the project would be completed in three years’ time. “The clock began ticking on January 10, when the Union Urban Development Ministry finalised the division of labour between the two agencies (and clarified that the DMRC would execute the project). The project will have to be commissioned by early 2016,” sources said.

The Union Ministry had directed that the two agencies sign an agreement, preferably within a month’s time, based on broad terms of engagement that earmarked the works to be carried out by either agency. The deadline to sign the agreement expired on February 10.

Terms of engagement

As per the terms of engagement, the DMRC will invite tenders, procure materials and equipments, supervise and execute the project. The KMRL will decide the specifications to be adopted, while it will have a representative in the tender committee who will have a say on awarding works over Rs. 40 crore.

The contractual agreement will be finalised after it is vetted by legal experts, sources said. The terms are being finalised by a sub committee headed by KMRL’s MD Elias George by integrating the draft agreements framed by the two agencies. “The project incurs huge financial liability and everything has to be in black and white. Hence the delay. The preparatory works by the DMRC and finalisation of tenders for the metro’s civil works will go on as scheduled,” they said. Mr. Sreedharan had warned that each day’s delay in beginning the works would increase the project cost by Rs. 60 lakh.

Preparatory works

On its part, the preparatory works by the DMRC are on in full steam – two more lanes and the pillars supporting the metro viaduct at the North overbridge’s centre will be ready by year-end, while the Salim Rajan overbridge will be inaugurated by the beginning of April. “The Town Hall-Madhava Pharmacy Junction stretch will be widened into four-lane by January 2014. Work is all set to begin to widen the Jos Junction-South Railway Station stretch and narrow portions in M.G. Road,” sources said.

O and M works

Differences of opinion between the two agencies have more or less been ironed out. The KMRL is learnt to be gearing up to take up the project’s operation and maintenance (O and M) once it is commissioned. The work in this regard will gain momentum by year-end.

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