There are no legal and procedural problems in the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) executing the Kochi Metro Rail project, the agency’s Principal Adviser E. Sreedharan has stated.
He said this in a letter written to the Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammed and the Managing Director of Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) Elias George, on Saturday. Sources in the DMRC said Mr. Sreedharan pointed out that a government public sector undertaking (here, the KMRL) can award the metro work to another PSU (in this case, the DMRC) on nomination basis. This had been done numerous times.
The latest instance was Indian Railways awarding the construction of three metro lines in Kolkata to the RVNL, although RVNL had prepared the detailed project report (DPR) for these lines.
Referring to the argument raised by a few stakeholders that a project’s consultants could not be appointed as the executing agency, DMRC sources said the agency had prepared the DPR for the Kochi Metro (in 2005). But the client then was Kerala Government, while the present client (for the project’s execution) was the KMRL.
They said the work to widen roads and bridges was allotted to the DMRC on an assignment basis and not on the basis of global tender, as part of Kochi Metro’s preparatory works. But if the DMRC was assigned the work of the Kochi Metro, it would naturally go in for global tenders for all the procurements and it would be a very transparent process. Awarding the work to global players would cause delay of 18 to 24 months to commence work. But the DMRC can start the work within four months (of the work being handed over to it). Talking about the need for the KMRL Director Board to take a call on handing over the work to the DMRC, sources said the State government can hand over the work to the DMRC on deposit terms only if the project was a State government one. The Kochi Metro was a joint venture project of the State and Union governments and hence the Board, which has representatives of the State and Centre, should take a decision.
Referring to Mr Aryadan’s comment that the Centre must formally exempt the project from Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) norms (which say that a project consultant cannot be the executing agency), they said the State government can bring this about through the KMRL Board by introducing a suitable agenda at the Board meeting (the next one is slated for October 19).