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Metro may Get its Usual Share

As Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents the Union Budget on Saturday, Kochi awaits with bated breath to see whether its hopes regarding funds for various mega projects and PSUs materialise

Published: 26th February 2015 06:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th February 2015 06:02 AM   |  A+A-

KOCHI: It is very well known that the Union Government will focus on taking steps needed to achieve the double digit economic growth rate in 2015-16 financial year, but Kochi can expect fund allocations for some of the key projects which are progressing here.

Last year, the `5,537 crore Kochi Metro Rail project was allocated `462.17 crore as Centre’s equity contribution and `66.95 crore as interest-free subordinate debt. Another ` 161.79 crore was allocated as loan for the project. In 2013 annual budget, the allocation for Kochi Metro Rail was `332.17 crore. The state and Central governments are expected to pump in `753.73 crore each for the Kochi Metro Rail project. The loan expected from French external lending agency AFD is nearly `1,600 crore while Canara Bank has agreed to provide `1,170 crore loan. Hence, this year, the Kochi Metro Rail project may not get heavy fund allocation from the centre. However, this will not affect the progress of the project.

Scrapping the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme, the NDA Government has launched 100 Smart Cities programme. The Town Planners are keenly observing whether Kochi will be included in the list of cities identified by the Centre. Kochi was the first city in Kerala to be included under JNNURM.

The Smart Cities will have an integrated transit corridor where the different modes of transport including buses and suburban rail network will be directly linked with the common man. If Kochi is selected under the Smart City project, it will have a centralised control system. This system will provide live updates on availability of water, healthcare, education, electricity and public transport system.

Though in the interim budget last year, the Union Government had allocated `7,060 crore for 100 Smart cities, a clear picture on the procedures and project was not given. This year’s budget is expected to give a clear outlay of this project.

This year, the annual budget is also expected to give due focus on domestic manufacturing. The investors will be keenly looking into the details in the budget on resource allocation for these initiatives, incentives and  taxation structure. A favourable decision in this regard will help in attracting more potential investors to Kochi. This situation will also help in carrying forward some of the key investment projects that were mooted in the Global Investors meet held here in the recent years.



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