Fate of Light Metro to be decided today

KRTL board will take a call on the revised DPR

The fate of the ambitious Light Metro mooted for the cities of Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode will be decided on the board of Kerala Rapid Transit Limited (KRTL) to be chaired by the Chief Minister here on Wednesday.

Ending an uncertainty of 19 months, the board will take a call on the revised Detailed Project Report (DPR) submitted by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) as per the revised Metro Policy-2017.

The report of a committee led by Additional Chief Secretary, Finance, Manoj Joshi, which reviewed the feasibility of the MRTS, will also come up at the board.

Sources told The Hindu that the DPR and the committee’s report would come up along with the administrative matters and accounts of the KRTL, a special purpose vehicle set up to execute the project, as agenda items.

Clearance vital

Only if the KRTL board clears the revised DPR, it can be forwarded to the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs after securing the approval of the State Cabinet.

The report assumes significance in the wake of the financial crisis the State is in. As per the revised DPR, the cost for laying Light Metro along 35.12 km in the two cities will go up by ₹700 crore from ₹6,728 crore.

The Thiruvananthapuram leg will cost ₹4,673 crore and the Kozhikode leg ₹2,773 crore.

Without making any inference, the committee has opined that the State will have to bear the ‘additional burden’ above the projected cost as ridership and it will be less in the initial years.

Citing the experiences of metros, it has been pointed out that the State will have to share the repayment in a big way as revenue from operations alone will not be enough.

The committee also made a “realistic assessment” of the financial commitment to be incurred by the State. It looked into the impact of incorporation of parameters such as transit-oriented development plan, value capture finance, and public-private partnership cited in the revised DPR.

However, the votaries of the MRTS project are hopeful that the board will approve the DMRC report that has found the project ‘viable and socially justified’ and has the needed ridership.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 8:12:47 AM |

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