He was given responsibility to execute Kochi project: MP

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) delegated powers to its Principal Adviser E. Sreedharan in March to execute the Kochi Metro Rail and other projects undertaken by the agency in Kerala, P. Rajeev, MP, told mediapersons here on Saturday.

Mr. Sreedharan was vested with full powers to execute the works, on establishment (administration), stores (purchase), and miscellaneous matters. He was also vested with full powers to prepare the detailed project report of the Thiruvananthapuram-Mangalore and the Bangalore High-Speed Rail Corridors and the Chennai Metro for which the DMRC is the prime consultant, Mr Rajeev said.

Mr. Rajeev’s remarks come in the backdrop of a decision taken by the Director Board of Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) on Friday, to wait for DMRC’s Director Board’s consent till the KMRL handed over the implementation of the Kochi Metro to the DMRC. Union Urban Development secretary Sudhir Krishna, who is also KMRL Board chairman, cited a decision taken by the DMRC Board on October 15 that its consent was necessary for any metro project that the agency took up outside Delhi.

This stand taken by the KMRL Board had drawn flak, and allegations were made that it was aimed at keeping Mr. Sreedharan away from the project.

To substantiate his statement, Mr. Rajeev distributed copies of the DMRC order vesting full powers on Mr Sreedharan for implementing the metro and completing the works in three years, approved by its Managing Director Mangu Singh and signed by Karan Singh, the agency’s executive director (HR).

He said the decision by the DMRC Board on October 15 was taken at the behest of Mr. Sudhir Krishna, despite it not being included in the agenda. “The intention is clear — they do not want the DMRC under Mr. Sreedharan to be involved with the Kochi Metro.”

Even presuming that the DMRC Board has to decide the agency’s participation in Kochi Metro, Friday’s KMRL Director Board meeting should have passed a resolution demanding this. “Chief Minister Oommen Chandy should clarify why the Board members did not uphold the decision taken by the State Cabinet to give the work to the DMRC. Moreover, the government has not passed an order, despite two Cabinet decisions entrusting the metro’s works with the DMRC,” Mr. Rajeev said.

Krishna Iyer’s demand

The former judge of the Supreme Court V.R. Krishna Iyer too was present at the media briefing. He said the supervision of Mr. Sreedharan was necessary to ensure timely completion of the metro project and to keep corruption at bay. Kochi needs such a mode of transport to overcome acute traffic congestion. Mr Sreedharan is an expert in the field and I am willing to take up this matter with the Prime Minister once again, he said. Mr. Rajeev and he had met the Prime Minister a few years ago, demanding that the Centre clear the project. “Members of the public want the metro to be handed over to the DMRC,” Mr Iyer said and exhorted them to protest against attempts to derail the agency’s involvement in the project.

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