“One thousand and ninety five days! That is the deadline and the countdown begins today.” When Chief Minister Oommen Chandy announced the deadline for the commissioning of the `5,182-crore Kochi Metro Rail at the grand ceremony held in connection with the launch of the construction of the project on the premises of Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium on Friday, all eyes were on one man -- the Metroman, E Sreedharan. And he was seen taking a pen and paper and calculating. It was to make sure that the 1,095 days was equivalent to three years. And when he realised that the number quoted by the Chief Minister matched with his promise of completing the project in three years’ time, he smiled.
Earlier, the Chief Minister flagged off the construction work of the project.
Huge screens set up at the venue displayed the launch of the first pile at Edappally. In his inaugural address, Oommen Chandy said that E Sreedharan’s expertise will help DMRC in completing the project within the stipulated time. “This is certainly a landmark in the overall infrastructure development of Kochi,” the Chief Minister said.
As per the plan, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will carry out the construction work by dividing the entire 25-km stretch into four. The work will be carried out in 200-m stretches, each of which will be supported by eight pillars of 25 -m gap.
Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) Managing Director Elias George said that the Kochi Metro Rail would bring about a drastic change in the way of life Kochi. “The urban transport sector of the city will witness drastic changes once the Metro Rail starts its service. It will help integrate different modes of transport. We are also planning a modern commercial hub at Kakkanad,” he said.
The projects, including the multi-utility centre at Kakkanad and the Metro Village at Muttam, will ensure supplementary revenue for repaying the loans.
Union Minister K V Thomas, Ministers including Aryadan Mohammed, K M Mani, P K Kunhalikkutty, K Babu, Anup Jacob, V K Ibrahim Kunju, Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany, P Rajeev MP, Benny Behanan MLA, Hibi Eden MLA, Dominic Presentation MLA, GCDA chairman N Venugopal, District Collector P I Sheikh Pareeth, among others, were present.
■ The project mooted in 2005
■ In Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) formed in 2011
■ The project cost was revised from `2,239 crore to `5,182 crore
■ The preparatory work for Kochi Metro Rail began in August 2011
■ PIB clearance for the project given in March 2012
■ Union Government Approval on July 3, 2012
■ Foundation Stone laid on September 13, 2012
■ The reconstructed motor bays of North RoB was opened on January 1, 2013
■ Construction work begins on June 7, 2013