The terms of engagement detailing the role that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and Kochi Metro Rail Ltd. (KMRL) will play in the Kochi Metro will be finalised here on January 8, at a high-level meeting that will be chaired by Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath.

Preliminary reports suggest that the DMRC will implement the project and invite tenders, while KMRL will supervise the works. “KMRL would work in close association with the DMRC so that it can independently undertake the metro’s proposed extension to the international airport, Kakkanad, and Tripunithura,” sources associated with the project said.

KMRL will also decide on policy matters, the choice of technology, and the metro’s design and aesthetics with DMRC’s technical help.

The inordinate delay in demarcating the works between the two agencies had invited flak since the Centre accorded its sanction for the project in July, 2012. Moreover, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had said in January 2012 that the DMRC would execute the project. But a Government Order was not issued last year.

A committee led by Union Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna, having the Chief Secretaries of New Delhi and Kerala as members, was entrusted with the task of finalising the DMRC’s role in the project, a couple of months ago.

The Urban Development Ministry had expressed reservations about sparing DMRC’s resources for the project. This invited criticism that the Ministry was unduly interfering in the DMRC’s functioning.

Following this, Mr. Kamal Nath said in December that it was for the State government to decide the DMRC’s role in the project.

Speaking to The Hindu, Chief Secretary K. Jose Cyriac said the State government forwarded its comments on the terms of engagement. “This was modified by the Urban Ministry and most of the modifications are acceptable to us.”

Apart from Mr. Kamal Nath, Mr. Sudhir Krishna and Mr. Cyriac, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Union Ministers K.V. Thomas and Vayalar Ravi and DMRC’s Principal Advisor E. Sreedharan are expected to attend the meeting.

Panel meet held

In the meantime, KMRL’s sub-committee meeting that was held in New Delhi on Friday had recommended a few changes to the dimensions and composition of coaches.

“We have suggested 2.90 metre wide coaches for the metro. Each train will have three to six coaches. Our Director Board will take a final call on these specifications. The length of coaches was already finalised, in tune with the length of platforms specified by the DMRC for metro stations,” said KMRL Managing Director Elias George, who heads the committee.

Power lines

A decision has been taken on substituting the metro’s overhead power lines with power lines running parallel to the track as the third rail. Though this will marginally escalate the project cost, it will lower maintenance expenses.

The work schedule for the metro rail will be finalised after KMRL signs a memorandum of understanding with the DMRC. The DMRC had promised to complete the project in three years time.

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