Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said here on Wednesday that the Kochi Metro Rail Project would not be allowed to be held up over controversies.

Speaking to the media after a meeting of the Cabinet, the Chief Minister said that the skill and services of the retired chairman of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation was needed by the State not only for the Kochi Metro but for other developmental plans of the State such as the proposed high speed corridor. If there is an issue over the Kochi Metro, the last word would be that of Mr. Sreedharan.

Mr. Chandy said that the Cabinet had discussed the issue and the government would be holding discussions with Mr. Sreedharan on January 12. The State Planning Board, in which Mr. Sreedharan is a member, would also be meeting on that day. Finance for the project could be obtained from Japan Bank for International Cooperation at low rate of interest. However, it comes with the condition that global tenders should be called for the project. The government wanted low interest loans as well as the expertise of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and leadership of Mr. Sreedharan. “There is more than a year to resolve the matter. And Mr. Sreedharan will have the final say.”

The Chief Minister said that the government was looking into the denial of clearance for Mundra Ports and Special Economic Zone for participation in the financial bid for the Vizhinjam International Container Transhipment Project by the home ministry. As that leaves only one consortium for the bid, the technicalities would have to be studied before going ahead with the bidding process.

He said that the Cabinet had given clearance, in principle, to the proposed integrated township project in Chemba panchayat near Kottayam. The project with an outlay of Rs. 1300 crore would generate about 6800 direct and 20000 indirect employment opportunities. A Board would be set up for single window clearance for the project.

He said that the Advisor to the Prime Minister Sam Pitroda would arrive in the State on January 25 for discussions on preparing a development plan for the next 20 years. Planning Commission Vice Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia would be visiting the State on January 23.

Replying to a question, Mr. Chandy said that the government would redress any complaint from the public regarding the proposed airport at Aranmula. The Chief Minister declined to comment on the dismissal by Supreme Court of the petition seeking enquiry against Mr. Chandy in the palmolein case under the supervision of the court. The petition was filed by former member of the Assembly Alphons Kannamthanam.