Submits memorandum to the Prime Minister

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene to clear the hurdles in the way of the Kochi Metro Rail project.

In a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister during his visit to Thiruvanathapuram on Friday, the Chief Minister said the project was getting delayed indefinitely for want of clearance from the Union Finance Ministry though it had been approved by the Planning Commission and the Union Ministry for Urban Development.

Mr. Achuthanandan urged the Prime Minister that the Centre should concede the State's demand to implement the project on the model of Delhi Metro rail.

He said that with the commissioning of the Vallarpadam Container Terminal, traffic bottlenecks in Kochi City were bound to increase. The metro project was a must to solve that problem. He pointed that the State government had already started preliminary works costing Rs.158.68 crore for the project considering its importance.

In another memorandum, the Chief Minister called upon the Prime Minister to accord clearance to the proposed coach factory in Palakkad at the earliest. The government had already identified 430.59 acres of land for locating the factory and 429.27 acres of that was ready for transfer to the Railways. The State government wanted the factory to be in the private sector while the Railway Ministry wanted it to be in the joint sector. Accordingly, the lease rent was fixed for the land and communicated to the Railway Ministry. However, the Railways had not taken any further steps in the matter.

Later, Governor R.S. Gavai, the Chief Minister and other dignitaries gave a warm farewell to the Prime Minister at the airport here on conclusion of Mr. Singh's three-day visit to the State. Union Ministers A.K. Antony and Vayalar Ravi, Ministers of State Mullappally Ramachandran and K.C. Venugopal, State Ministers C. Divakaran, M.A. Baby, M. Vijayakumar and V. Surendran Pillai, Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy, Mayor K. Chandrika, Chief Secretary P. Prabhakaran and Director General of Police Jacob Punnoose were among those present. The Prime Minister left by a special air force aircraft, Raj Kamal.

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