Kamal Nath says DMRC has ‘limitations’ in taking up the rail project

Chances of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) appears to have receded somewhat with Union Urban Affairs Minister Kamal Nath pointing out that the DMRC had ‘limitations’ in taking up the State’s prestigious infrastructure project.

Although Chief Minister Oommen Chandy met both Mr. Kamal Nath and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday and pleaded with them to allow the DMRC to take up the Kochi Metro project, the indications from at least Mr. Kamal Nath was clearly not positive. He gave sufficient hints that the DMRC, which is all set to take up around 400-kilometre third and fourth stages of the Delhi Metro project, cannot take up additional work all that easily.

However, Mr. Chandy appeared optimistic about a last-minute salvage operation and told reporters at New Delhi that DMRC adviser E. Sreedharan, on whom the State was pinning all its hopes, would be in the State on Wednesday for discussions on the best course forward. He rejected suggestions that the Urban Affairs Minister had rejected Kerala’s plea for DMRC’s participation in the Kochi Metro project. “The response is not negative. It is just that they have pointed out some practical difficulties,” he said.

Mr. Chandy said that Mr. Sreedharan would be in the State capital on Wednesday for discussions with him and State Minister in charge of Railways Aryadan Mohammed, currently abroad, to find ways to resolve the present impasse. If necessary, he would return to Delhi for further discussions. From the time the project was conceived by the 2001-’06 United Democratic Front (UDF) government in 2004, the State had set its mind on having the project as also the Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode mono rail projects implemented by the DMRC.

The present difficulty was on account of the last DMRC director board deciding that it should take a formal decision before any work outside Delhi was taken up. He had apprised both Mr. Kamal Nath and Ms. Dikshit about the importance of the project and told them that the work could be taken up without diverting DMRC personnel from their work in Delhi. Kochi Metro had completed recruitment of 19 engineers and they were waiting to be posted, he pointed out.

Replying to questions, Mr. Chandy said the government was keen that Kochi Metro should have the latest technology and equipment. The State government had already accorded in principle approval for DMRC’s Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the Kozhikode mono rail project. The DPR for the Thiruvananthapuram project should be available in another few days. .

More In: Kochi | Kerala | National