Work on the Kochi Metro will begin on June 7, and the project will be completed within three years, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said here on Sunday.

He was speaking after inaugurating the Salim Rajan overbridge, which links the Kaloor-Kadavanthra road with the KSRTC bus stand and Chitoor Road in the city. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has completed the 425-metre overbridge at a cost of Rs.38 crore as the first of the five preparatory works to divert vehicular traffic for the Metro work.

On criticism that the much-awaited project is getting delayed as Kochi Metro Rail Ltd. (KMRL) and the DMRC are yet to sign a contractual agreement, Mr. Chandy said the two agencies and the governments of Kerala and Delhi had agreed on the terms. “Signing it is just a formality,” he said.

Land acquisition

Mr. Chandy said the Metro’s alignment and acquisition of land had met with no opposition. “There are demands to increase the compensation amount though. Of the approximately 100 acres [40 hectares] required, 52 acres has been acquired. The land will be utilised mainly for constructing a viaduct and a coach-maintenance yard. The remaining 48 acres will be acquired soon, mostly for building the Metro stations,” he said. He said the DMRC would execute the monorail projects mooted for Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.

He announced that the foundation stone for the work on extending the Seaport-Airport Road (from HMT Junction towards the international airport) would be laid on May 23. Work on the SmartCity project would begin by July, and the State government had sought its commissioning before the 18-month period.

Mangu Singh, Managing Director of the DMRC, said the agency had awarded the work on the viaduct and stations on 18 km of the 25-km metro network. “The physical work will begin soon, and the works to ready systems will be awarded in a month,” he said.

Union Minister of State for Food and Public Distribution K.V. Thomas said Steel Authority of India Ltd. had agreed to hand over land in Tripunithura to extend the Metro beyond Pettah to the town.

E. Sreedharan, Principal Adviser, DMRC, and B. Sriram, Kochi Project Director, were present.

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