Biju Govind

Government to examine report submitted by consultant

Line from Karipur airport to medical college proposed

Proposed project estimated to cost Rs. 2,771 crore

KOZHIKODE: The State government is exploring the possibility of implementing a metro rail project for Kozhikode city and its suburbs. The proposal is to have a corridor connecting the Karipur airport to the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital here.

Last week, Minister for Law M. Vijayakumar stated in the Assembly that the State government would take follow-up action on an inception report submitted by the Bangalore-based consultant, Wilber Smith, on the detailed feasibility study on the prospect of implementing the Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS) and Light Rail Transit System (LRTS) in the city.

He said a preliminary feasibility study had been carried out by the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) in association with the Kerala Road Fund Board in December 2008. Based on this feasibility report, the Board entrusted Wilber Smith to conduct the study in June 2009.

The government has received the first part of the inception report. The final report will be submitted in December 2009.

Already, the NATPAC has submitted a metro rail project covering a total distance of 32.6 km from Karipur to the Medical College here. The cost of the project is estimated at Rs.2,771 crore. The project can be completed within five years.

As per the proposal, the metro line would start from Karipur airport, touching Ramanattukara, Meenchanda, Mini- Bypass, Arayadathupalam and culminate at the Medical College.

The metro rail project will benefit, apart from the residents of the city, the neighbouring grama panchayats of Malappuram and Kozhikode districts, said N. Vijayakumar, Coordinator of NATPAC.

An estimated 20.83 lakh people would get the benefits of the new transportation system by 2031.The project, which can be partly finished within three years, will be economically and technically feasible.

The NATPAC report says 95.24 per cent of the residents have welcomed the project and 66.91 per cent have expressed willingness to avail themselves of season tickets. Nearly 93 per cent have agreed to switch over to the new mode of transport, which is considered safe and suitable.

The Karipur – medical college route has been considered after extensive studies. Earlier, the NATPAC authorities had considered five routes for the metro rail project. They were Karipur-National Highway 17 Mavoor Road–Medical college (33.8 km.); Karipur-Meenchanda- Minibypass- Vengalam (41.5 km); Karipur- National Highway 17 Vengalam (43.5 km) and Karipur-Meenchanda-Minibypass- Vengalam (42.9 km). However, a majority of the residents agreed to the Karipur - Medical College route, according to the study.

As of now, 71.85 per cent of the residents depend on buses, including private State carriers, for commuting in the city on a daily basis. Approximately 13.55 per cent avail themselves of the services of car, jeep and taxi; 4.79 per cent commute in autorickshaws and 9.81 on two-wheelers.

At least 15 per cent will shift to metro rail for travelling when the project gets partly completed in 2011-2012.