Union Urban Development Minister S. Jaipal Reddy assured Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on Thursday that he would take steps to place the Rs.3,048-crore Kochi metro project before the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) and get its nod at the earliest.

He gave the assurance to Mr. Achuthanandan when the latter met him here along with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) chairman E. Sreedharan. The DMRC conducted the feasibility study for the project. However, he did not give any time frame for this.

Though there were reports that the Union Finance Ministry had turned down the proposal of the Kerala government to implement the project on the Delhi Metro model (where the State and the Central governments shared the project cost), sources said these were mere media speculations. What the Finance Ministry said was that it had resource constraints for funding the project. When the Planning Commission had not withdrawn its concurrence for implementing it on the Delhi model and the proposal still alive, where was the question of undertaking the project in public-private partnership (PPP) mode, they asked. “Nothing has come in writing,” they added.

Mr. Achuthanandan said he was optimistic that the Centre would give its nod for the project on the Delhi model.

Mr. Sreedharan, who had a meeting with Mr. Achuthanandan earlier, said his hope over the project survived as the approval of the Planning Commission still existed.

Mr. Achuthanandan had already gone on record stating that the Centre was hampering the Kochi metro project, which had been included by the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre in its 100-day programme.

According to DMRC's feasibility study, conducted five years ago, the peak hour traffic demand on the Aluva-Petta corridor would be around 13,681 persons per hour per direction during the year 2011. This is likely to increase to 23,621 persons per hour per direction by 2025. Road-based public transport would not be able to meet this demand, the study showed.

Keywords: Kochi metro

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