KOCHI: Ending speculation over the Union Government’s role in Kochi Metro rail project, Union Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia made it clear that the Union Government will not fund the proposed Kochi Metro.
Ahluwalia said the project could be completed with the participation of private organisations.
He pointed out that the Kochi Metro rail was not similar to the Delhi Metro rail. “The Kochi Metro rail cannot be implemented on the lines of the Delhi Metro as the land for the Delhi Metro is owned by the government. In Kochi land has to be acquired from private parties. The Union Government can only provide grant for the project,” he said.
The Kerala Government had proposed a joint venture between the Centre and state which has now been rejected by the Planning Commission.
Even the study conducted by Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) says that the Kochi Metro rail is not feasible and is not similar to the projects in Bangalore or Chennai.
Sources from Kochi Metro rail said that the office functioning in Kochi may be closed by July-end or August as the fund allotted for it has been used and there is no scope for additional fund. The Kerala Government had allotted Rs 50 lakh and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation had allotted Rs 25 lakh, all of which have been utilised.
There is no way to get funds for providing salary for the employees now and nobody is ready to work for the Kochi Metro rail.
It is also pointed out that if the Union Government provides Rs 600 crore for the project the liability will increase as the fund has to be given for the Ahmedabad, Pune, Mumbai and Chennai projects. Even if some agencies come forward to run the project, it is not known who will run the show and how the loan amount could be paid back if the Kochi Metro rail office is closed.