The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is unable to begin work to widen narrow roads and bridges in the city, reportedly because the State Government is not providing the funds that it had promised for the purpose.

The inordinate delay by the PWD and the Corporation of Kochi in acquiring land to widen roads and bridges, is another issue stifling the execution of preliminary works of the project. Over half-a-dozen roads and the Ernakulam North overbridge have to be widened (as per a report submitted to the State Government by N. S. Sreenivasan, chairman, Transport Advisory Forum), so that the movement of vehicles and pedestrians is least affected when work on the project is on.

The State Government had promised to give Rs. 158 crore, to widen select roads, to rebuild the Ernakulam North bridge as a four-lane one and to build a bridge linking Salim Rajan Road on the eastern side of the railway track with Mullassery Canal road on the western side. The money could also have been used to relocate electricity/telephone posts, pipelines and cables in narrow road corridors.

“All that the State Government gave the DMRC was Rs. 50 lakh to begin its office in the city and to execute survey, soil testing etc., along the 25-km-long Aluva-MG Road-Pettah alignment of the system of mass rapid transport. The agency is struggling to meet its expenses for preliminary works on the project,” sources said.

The Rail Corporation's Kochi office is functioning with the help of loan extended by its head office in New Delhi.

Of the Rs. 158 crore promised by the State Government, the DMRC had sought Rs. 60 crore, of which only Rs. 30 crore was sanctioned by the government.

But even this amount is yet to be handed over, despite fears that the project cost would go up steeply because of such delays.

Even Rs. 16 lakh that the State Government had sanctioned as urgent assistance is yet to be released.

The DMRC's first priority was to rebuild the North overbridge and construct the new road overbridge near the KSRTC bus stand.

Apart from funds paucity, the projects have been held up because the PWD and the Corporation of Kochi are reportedly not approving the plans and expediting land acquisition.

The delay in releasing funds and the other issues were recently taken up with the Chief Secretary by the agency's officials.

More In: Kochi