KOCHI: With just 10 days to go for the inauguration of the Kochi Metro Rail’s first stretch from Aluva to Palarivattom, West Kochi residents have come out with a demand to extend Metro services to Thoppumpady, Mattanchery and Fort Kochi areas.
The office-bearers of the Palluruthy zonal committee of the Ernakulam District Residents’ Associations Apex Council (EDRAAC) alleged the authorities often ignore the western region of Kochi while implementing infrastructure development projects in the city.
“Development activities have always been focused on the eastern or northern region of the city while the people of west region continue to suffer owing to lack of basic infrastructure facilities,” V K Manoharan, zonal president of EDRAAC, told reporters here on Tuesday.
He also refused to accept the proposal of Water Metro project for the convenience of residents of western Kochi. “West Kochi is a densely-populated region and it’s transportation requirement cannot be resolved through Water Metro alone. It may be noted the routes of many KSRTC buses conducting services through the Edakochi-Palluruthy area have been changed, adding to our transportation woes,” he said.
E Sreedharan, principal advisor to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, and top executives of KMRL had earlier ruled out the extension of Kochi Metro to West Kochi citing several constraints, including threats to heritage zones of the region as the roads are narrow there.
According to residents’ association leaders, concerted efforts are needed to regain the lost glory of West Kochi, which was a “trading hub in the past”. It is almost confirmed the train service to the Cochin Harbour Terminus will be restored soon. Once the train service is restored, it will lead to traffic snarl-ups as the railway gate near the Naval airport will be closed frequently, they said.
The association leaders claimed they could suggest a feasible alignment based on which the Kochi Metro could be extended to West Kochi. “It is learnt the KMRL has a study report which suggests extension of Metro Rail to West Kochi is not feasible. The report was prepared based on an alignment through selected roads. We are ready to hold talks with the Metro Rail authorities to substantiate the alignment we suggest,” said Ramesh Kumar, joint secretary of the zonal committee.
“If the Metro Rail is extended from Tripunithura to West Kochi, it will be beneficial for the tourism sector as well as for the people of Kumbalam, Thevara, Maradu, Nettoor and Chandiroor. Raising the demand, the EDRAAC zonal committee is planning to launch an agitation with people’s participation,” he said.