Government Order not mandatory for work on Kochi Metro to begin, says Chief Secretary

Men and machines for major civil works of the Kochi Metro project will be readied by April, following which the work can begin, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) Principal Advisor E. Sreedharan has said.

Speaking to media persons here on Thursday on the sidelines of a function held at Model Engineering College, Thrikkakara, he said a pre-qualification conference will be held here on Friday to clear the queries of bidders. “We have fixed minimum eligibility standards, for which technical and financial evaluation will be done,” he said.

To a question on a Russian firm evincing interest in the project, Mr. Sreedharan said no special consideration would be shown to anyone. The firm to carry out the works will be finalised through global competitive bidding.

On the loan expected from Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), he said the Central and State governments have promised to provide 60 per cent of the metro project’s funds. The works can begin using government funds even if JICA takes a year to process the loan.

The DMRC had invited tenders for constructing the metro’s viaduct in the Aluva-Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium stretch, the Stadium-Pettah stretch and 22 metro stations.

The work on the Aluva-stadium stretch is likely to be awarded first since land acquisition is minimal.

Earlier, speaking at the college in connection with Youth Day organised to commemorate Swami Vivekananada’s 150 birth anniversary, the ‘Metro Man’ said he was greatly influenced by the life and teachings of the Swami. His philosophy influenced my responsibility as head of the Konkan Railway and the Delhi Metro, he said.

Stress on punctuality

The Konkan Railway and the Delhi Metro projects were completed in a meticulous and time-bound manner, without being rocked by any scandal, because of the emphasis given to punctuality, integrity, professional competence and social responsibility, he said.

The DMRC was able to complete phase one of the Delhi Metro prior to deadline and the 124-km-long phase two in four-and-a-half years, a world record.

Mr. Sreedharan said each day’s delay in beginning work on the Kochi Metro would increase the Rs. 5,182-crore project’s cost by Rs. 40 lakh. He blamed Kochi’s civic agencies for not making alternative arrangements for traffic when the Kundanoor Bridge was being resurfaced.

KMRL to have say

To a question on whether the DMRC can kickstart the metro’s work without a formal government order, Chief Secretary Jose Cyriac told The Hindu that the terms of engagement more or less allows the agency to go ahead with the works. “It need not approach the State government or Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL). But the KMRL’s representative in the tender committee too will have a say in finalising tenders above a certain limit,” said Mr. Cyriac, who is a member of the KMRL Director Board. He added the project’s preparatory works could go on simultaneously along with the metro’s works.

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