Kamal Nath for Kochi in January

The extent of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s involvement in the Kochi Metro Rail project will be decided within a week.

This will be followed by the visit of Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath to Kochi, in the first week of January. He is slated to hold discussions with officials of DMRC and Kochi Metro Rail Limited and also with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and the DMRC’s Principal Advisor E. Sreedharan. The DMRC’s MD Mangu Singh too might attend the meeting.

Sources associated with the project said DMRC’s role in the project is being finalised by a committee led by Union Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna, and Chief Secretaries of New Delhi and Kerala as members. The Urban Development Ministry had earlier expressed reservations about sparing DMRC’s resources for the project, overlooking the fact that the metro authority’s Kochi office had over 30 technical experts and the process was on to induct more personnel.

Following uproar over allegations that senior officials in the Ministry were unduly interfering in DMRC’s functioning and were trying to keep DMRC and Mr Sreedharan away from the metro, Mr Kamal Nath said a week ago that the State government must decide DMRC’s role in the project. The State government too came under fire for not issuing a Government Order about the project’s execution being handed over to DMRC, despite assurance by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Division of labour

The committee will earmark specific roles for the DMRC and KMRL and how they can complement each other for the smooth and timely completion of the metro’s works, sources said. “As per information available, the DMRC will execute and supervise the project, apart from inviting tenders for the different works, in coordination with the KMRL. The KMRL will decide on policy matters, the choice of technology and the metro’s design and aesthetics, with DMRC’s technical help.”

The KMRL will continue to liaison with government agencies like KSEB, KWA, BSNL etc. to clear the decks for constructing the metro’s via duct along the 25-km-long Aluva-MG Road-Pettah corridor. DMRC will relocate posts, cables and pipes to avoid delays.

In the meantime, the sub-committee headed by KMRL’s MD Elias George, which was constituted to modernise the Metro’s detailed project report, is expected to suggest a few technological updates. The agency’s Director Board had entrusted the committee with taking a call on the length and width of coaches and their number in each rake. It is also probing the possibility of overhead electric lines being relocated to the rails, as the third traction.

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