KERALA

Chamber offers help for land acquisition

John L. Paul

Fillip for Kochi metro rail project

KOCHI: The Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry has offered to help the State Government in conducting negotiations for land required for the proposed Metro rail project in Kochi.

The elevated Metro rail will not require land acquisition on wide roads, as the pillars supporting the rails are proposed to be built over existing medians.

Some land will have to be acquired in places such as the Vytilla-Pettah stretch, where the road is narrow. Similarly, minimal land will be needed every kilometre of the 25.25-km route from the Aluva Railway Station to Pettah, to locate stations.

The Chamber initiative comes in the wake of new businesses preferring to open shop on either side of the NH bypass and in local hubs, owing to traffic congestion in the heart of the city. Inadequate parking space is another reason for businesses shifting out.

President of the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry E. S. Jose said the Chamber would also help the Government in providing alternative sites to shop owners.

"The Metro rail will be a boon to people who cannot afford to buy land in the city. They will be able to reach the city in a few minutes," he said adding that Kochi has run out of other alternatives to solve the ever-increasing traffic snarls and pollution.

Managing director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (that prepared the detailed project report for the proposed Kochi Metro rail) E. Sreedharan had arrived in Kochi over a month back, on the invitation of the Chamber, to explain how the Metro rail would give a new identity to Kochi.

Traffic congestion

At present, traffic snarls, pollution and the increasing rate of accidents have made commuting a difficult experience in Kochi. The DMRC had submitted a detailed project report on the Metro-rail project to the State Government in July 2005 after conducting a topographic, traffic and soil survey along the proposed route. The project got a fillip after Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan gave the go-ahead last week, annulling objections raised by some quarters.

The ball is now in the Government's court, to proceed with the formalities.

The 25.25-km-long route has been envisaged through Kalamassery, Palarivattom, Kaloor, Madhava Pharmacy Junction, Maharaja's College, Ernakulam South, S.A. Road and Vytilla, touching most arterial roads.

The extension to Thripunithura will be considered after roads in the area are widened.

The proposed light metro has many advantages. It meets the transportation demand for the present and future, and is the fastest mode of urban transport.

The average speed will be 40 km/hr. Ultimately, Kochi cannot do without a system of mass rapid transport like metro rail, a senior official of DMRC said.

"The State Government will identify the agency that will execute the project. The DMRC will help with the expertise," he said.

Ordinary public and private transport carries around 15,000 passengers an hour in one direction.

The light metro rail system can carry thrice the number of people in an hour, in a much more comfortable and fast manner.

The system will be able to carry 3,81,868 passengers daily. The project cost estimated in May 2005 was Rs 1,966 crore.

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