Clearing the decks for the implementation of the Kochi Metro Rail project, Kochi Metro Rail Limited’s (KMRL) Director Board on Thursday decided to ink a contractual agreement with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). The 11th board meeting also approved the agreement for executing the metro project in the 25-km-long Aluva-Pettah corridor.

“The agreement was finalised after over a month-long negotiation (with the DMRC),” said the KMRL’s Managing Director, Elias George. “Our cardinal principle is to build a world class Metro and this is more important than the organisational structure. We are happy that the DMRC cooperated with us to frame a win-win agreement to ensure this.”

Delay in finalising the agreement had invited flak. The agreement will be signed by Mr. Elias and DMRC’s Managing Director Mangu Singh, sources said.

The pact has details like the functioning of an independent machinery to ensure the quality of works and division of works between the two agencies It will also have details on the accountability of the two agencies while implementing the project and legal matters.

The technical parameters to be finalised include the dimensions and composition of the metro coaches. Only after the technical panel arrives at a decision on the length of coaches, the platforms’ length of the stations can be finalised. A technical panel headed by the KMRL Managing Director is expected to decide on the specifications within a week. S.D. Sarma, DMRC’s Director (Business Development) and Kochi Project Director P. Sriram presented the DMRC’s plan of action for the project during the meeting. The project will have to be commissioned by 2016. “Civil works are expected to begin in the Aluva-Kaloor international stadium stretch by May, since land acquisition here is minimal,” said sources.

The details of the action plan are expected to be released by this month end.

Though the extent of land to be acquired in the Aluva-M G Road-Vyttila alignment has been tentatively fixed, the State government’s delay in according administrative sanction to widen the Vyttila-Pettah stretch is a cause for concern. “This 4-km stretch is crucial since the alignment’s central line and allied details have to be finalised,” they said. The Board approved the invitation of Expressions of Interest (EoI) for preparing a master plan for the development of 17.315 acres of land at Kakkanad for establishing an urban multi-utility and recreational centre. Three new functional directors were inducted into the KMRL Board during the meeting.

They are C.K. Khaitan, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, Mahesh Kumar, KMRL’s Director (Projects) and Abraham Oommen, Director (Finance). Union Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna chaired Thursday’s meeting.

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