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Metro rail project: agency waiting for land allotment

Staff Reporter
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DMRC ready to start work on widening roads by December

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is ready to initiate work for the proposed Kochi metro rail by December.

According to sources in the agency, it can start works on widening the narrow roads and to build new bridges if the State government hands over land for this purpose. These works will be a prelude to constructing huge pillars for the project.

“We had sought Rs.60 crore from the government for enhancing the infrastructure, of which Rs.30 crore was given to us. Tenders have been floated for building a bridge linking the Salim Rajan Road with the road leading to the KSRTC bus stand,” the sources said.

According to them tenders are being finalised to rebuild the North overbridge into a four-laned one, and to widen the Banerjee Road, MG Road and the road from Jos Junction to the Ernakulam junction railway station.

“We can make considerable progress in widening the roads, within a fortnight of land being handed over,” said the sources.

The State government had promised to give Rs.158 crore to widen select roads and build bridges.

The money would also be used to relocate electricity/ telephone posts, pipelines and cables in narrow road corridors.

The State PWD is yet to begin work to widen the extremely-narrow Vytilla-Pettah Road and the Kaniampuzha Road (for the proposed Vytilla mobility hub). The District Collector M. Beena said that the government has issued administrative sanction for acquiring land to carry out preliminary works for the proposed system of mass-rapid transport in Kochi. “Notification and other formalities might take up to six months time.”

The land required for laying the elevated rails and allied infrastructure would most likely be acquired after the Centre formally accords sanction for the project that is aimed at decongesting most arterial roads in the city.

The Centre is reportedly withholding permission for the project citing that it cannot spare Rs.600 crore (roughly 15 per cent of the total cost) for the project.

The amount has to be given in portions of Rs.150 crore over four-years. With the Union Finance Ministry and the Planning Commission objecting to Central help and suggesting private partnership, the final nod for the project is being awaited from the CCEA.

The Managing Director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation E. Sreedharan had expressed concern over the delay in starting the work on the project since each day's delay would increase the cost of the Rs.3,000 crore project by approximately Rs.30 lakh.

The average cost of building a kilometre of rails, stations, repair yards, coaches and signals was Rs.110 crore a few years ago. This has already gone up to Rs.130 crore because of the delays.

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