THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Close on the heels of the successful launch of Kochi Metro Rail, the state government will convene a director board meeting of the Kerala Rapid Transit Corporation to sort out issues related to the Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode Light Metro projects.
Determined to obtain the long-pending clearance from the Centre for the two infrastructure projects, the state on Saturday approached Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking clearance. However, highly placed sources told Express the state has to take the first step before putting pressure on the Centre.
“The state has to carry out the ground work for the Rs 4,219 crore project. Already, the budget has provisions for construction of overbridges and approach roads. Only if the Centre feels the state is serious in its approach, the final nod will come,” sources said, referring to the light metro project in the state capital. Even then, it would take at least three years before one can take a ride on a light metro.
There have been some apprehension about the light metro project in Kozhikode. The land acquisition has been on hold for some time. However, the scenario has changed and, within a week, there will be positive signals, sources said.
As regards the Thiruvananthapuram project, the tender for flyovers and rolling stock (wagons) could have been over by now for the project approved in 2014. The DMRC, the interim consultant for the project, is still demarcating land to be acquired for the flyovers at Sreekaryam, Ulloor and Pattom along the NH 66. Once demarcated, the land will be acquired by the Revenue Department. To hasten the process, a meeting was convened by the PWD Minister in January.
A special team was formed consisting of officials from the Revenue Department and the DMRC. It is learnt the team has wound up their work and has since been redeployed. The delay costs the project between Rs 75 lakh to Rs 1 crore a day. The project cost calculated in 2014 would have escalated by at least Rs 1,000 crore by now.
With the work going slow, Sreedharan met the Chief Minister on May 16 to sort out bottlenecks.
“The Chief Minister and other ministers are positive about the project. Somehow, the enthusiasm is not trickling down to the officers’ level,” said a DMRC officer, requesting anonymity.
The state and the Centre are contributing 20 per cent each to the project, with the rest coming from international funding agencies.
“Had the state started its investment, it would have made a difference to the approach of the Central government. This comes mainly in the form of land acquisition,” said the DMRC officer.
The project technical committee, which met in May, has recommended the extension of a proposed flyover from Pattom to Plamoodu. The Kerala Rapid Transit Corporation Ltd is a special purpose vehicle set up to execute the project.