‘Retendering will not affect commissioning of monorail projects’

Initial hiccups not withstanding, Kochi Metro would be commissioned as scheduled by June 2016, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said on Saturday.

Talking to reporters after visiting the Metro’s work sites in the city and a casting yard at HMT, Kalamassery, he said the focus was on time-bound completion of the project. Back in June at the launch of the Metro’s works, Mr. Chandy had given an assurance that Metro trains would ply on the 25-km-long Aluva-Pettah corridor within three years. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has set December 2015 as the deadline to conduct trial run of trains on the Aluva-Palarivattom stretch.

All pending issues (such as the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) delay in relocating pipelines from the Metro’s SA Road alignment and the Public Works Department (PWD) delay in widening Vytilla-Pettah Road) will be sorted out at the upcoming review meeting here on Thursday, Mr. Chandy said. “The government is fully satisfied with Metro works that are under way.”

Extension

He said the government had an open mind on Metro extensions proposed to Tripunithura, Kakkanad, international airport and west Kochi. “The present priority was to commission the Metro’s phase one (which, according to metro stakeholders, would include the Tripunithura extension),” he said.

Asked whether the retendering of the Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode monorail projects would in any way delay their commissioning, Mr. Chandy said everything would be done to meet the deadline. In the wake of only one firm responding to a global tender, it was decided a few days ago to float once again tenders for the two projects to select the exclusive developer-contractor.

Referring to the pace of Kochi Metro’s ongoing civil works, DMRC Principal Adviser E. Sreedharan said rain delayed piling-related works, including those on M.G. Road, by 45 days. This delay would be made up once the works attained pace after the rains subsided. On the KWA’s delay in relocating pipelines from S.A. Road and the Revenue Department’s delay in acquiring land to widen the Vytilla-Pettah Road, Mr. Sreedharan said the Metro contractor of the Ernakulam South-Pettah reach had been asked to commence civil works in areas where such problems did not exist. (It had been reported that Era Constructions would commence piling in a 700-metre reach east of Vytilla Mobility Hub, which runs parallel to Kaniampuzha River). He added that tenders would be invited soon for laying tracks over the Metro viaduct.

On the two bridges and a flyover proposed at Edapally, Mr. Sreedharan said the DMRC would begin piling in a week’s time. Some more land had to be acquired on the flyover’s Palarivattom side.

Earlier, the Chief Minister lauded District Collector Sheikh Pareeth and KMRL’s managing director Elias George for their role in speeding up land acquisition for the metro. About widening the South overbridge, he said this was not as urgent as widening of North overbridge. But the proposal was under the government’s consideration. Activists of the DYFI and the CPI(M) waved black flags at the Chief Minister at three places. The police dispersed the activists at Edappally, Kalamassery, and Kakkanad.

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