Senior officials of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited, Kochi Metro’s implementing agency, have said that 99% of all works in nine of the 11 metro stations in the Aluva-Palarivattom metro corridor is over while 95% of work is over in Edappally and Changampuzha Park metro stations.
Specialised contractors who were entrusted with covering exteriors of stations using aluminium composite panels (ACP) are at the job and this is the sole pending work in stations. The task will be over by early June. In Edappally and Changampuzha Park metro stations, sub-contractors are busy constructing entry/exit on one side, while it is ready on the other side. This work will be over by month end. Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) was expected to do the rest of the work, they added.
Lifts, escalators, lights, counters, etc., are ready at stations, while 90% of public address systems have been networked. While passenger areas are not air conditioned, signalling and equipment rooms, station control rooms and tickets counters have AC.
The Commissioner of Metro Railway Safety (CMRS), who is expected to inspect eleven metro stations from Wednesday to Friday, might in all probability issue the safety certificate in a week. This will be followed by service trials every 10 minutes - the scheduled operating time of seven trains in the corridor. Trains will cover the distance in 20 minutes. The trials would include emergency evacuation measures and time taken, metro officials said.
The KMRL is awaiting the Prime Minister’s date to fix the metro’s commissioning, in May end or early June. Trains are now being put to extensive trial runs, to ensure their foolproof operation. The metro agency has recruited drivers, controllers and other staff to man stations and the operational control centre.
“We have also trained Kudumbasree workers for housekeeping works at stations, while State Industrial Security Force personnel and other security guards will provide security cover. Pre-paid smart cards for cashless travel too are being readied,” sources in the agency said. The DMRC had handed over controls of all 11 stations to the KMRL a fortnight ago.
The DMRC had fixed June 2016 as the target to complete the metro, heeding to a request from then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. The agency took a year more due to labour unrest in some work sites, frequent quarry strikes and delay by the two main contractors - L&T and Soma Constructions. Still, the 13-km stretch is the first metro corridor in India to be completed in record time.
The Palarivattom-Maharaja’s College Ground corridor is set to be commissioned by October. Uncertainty looms large over completing the rest of the work up to Thripunithura due to delay in land acquisition and the extremely slow pace of civil works by Era Ranken, which has not even begun girder launch in the 1.20-km viaduct beyond Vyttila.