‘Those delaying work were the ones seeking commissions’

O. Rajagopal, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Union Minister of State, said here on Wednesday that the higher political leadership in the United Progressive Alliance government and the State government was behind the delaying of the Kochi Metro project.

At a press conference here, he said those seeking commissions wanted to delay the project and keep it under their control.

Mr. Rajagopal noted that the report prepared by a subcommittee formed following discussions in Delhi on the project had been returned with the suggestion that funding from sources other than the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) should be explored.

This would delay the project. The process to obtain loan from JICA had progressed.

Limited role

The Chief Secretary had told the subcommittee that the role of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) might be limited to tendering.

The DMRC was to be excluded from selection of technology, design and management.

The Chief Secretary would not have communicated such a stand to the subcommittee without the knowledge of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

He said there was organised conspiracy behind undermining the proposal for implementation of the project by the DMRC under supervision of its Principal Adviser, E. Sreedharan.

Though officials might be responsible for the situation as doubted by Mr. Sreedharan, they would not be doing so without political backing.

Powerful backing

Mr. Rajagopal said if Union Minister of Urban Development Kamal Nath was standing in the way of the DMRC taking up the Kochi metro project, it could be only with the backing of more powerful persons.

Hurdles were being created despite Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony pressing for implementation of the Metro project by the DMRC and Mr. Sreedharan.