Lists out roles of two agencies; work to be completed in four years

After months of intense wrangling, the Kochi Metro Rail Limited and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation have signed on the dotted line.

The two entered into a contractual agreement at New Delhi on Thursday, fixing four years as the time frame for completing Kochi Metro.

The work is scheduled to be flagged off on June 7 and the agreement comes just a fortnight ahead of it.

Earlier, DMRC’s Principal Advisor E. Sreedharan had said the metro rail work could be wrapped up in three years, and when asked about it, KMRL’s MD Elias George said the agencies would try to complete the project in a “shorter span”.

The agreement says that DMRC will get the work done while KMRL will “exercise appropriate financial and technical oversight over the project’s execution”. DMRC must also seek KMRL’s nod before deviating from the technical specifications and norms agreed upon.

Mr. George said the agreement took care of Kerala’s interests. It also ensured that there were no impediments to DMRC’s functioning either, he said.

To hold DMRC responsible, KMRL will also appoint independent safety and quality auditors. KMRL snagged a bargain by getting it on the contract.

The fledgling KMRL has also ensured that its men will amass the technical know-how to take over when DMRC exits. The KMRL will hire and depute 30 per cent of DMRC’s project-execution staff who will work under DMRC, the agreement says. “This is to ensure KMRL’s capacity-building to extend the metro rail (to Kakkanad, international airport etc.,) on its own. It would be a win-win situation – they use our staff (for phase one), who in turn get trained for taking up the extensions,” Mr George said.

To prepare a progress card and iron out disputes, a steering committee will be set up. It will have onboard KMRL’s MD and a director each from the two agencies. And above them will be an appellate committee comprising the Union Urban Development Secretary – who is also chairman of both DMRC and KMRL — and the MDs of the two agencies.

KMRL will pay DMRC a remuneration equivalent to six per cent of the total project cost of Rs 5,182 crore.