KOCHI: “This is the best job I have done in my career,” Elias George said unassumingly. As he steps down as the managing director of the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL), he leaves behind a trail of challenges for his successor; from finishing the Tripunithura line and the Kakkanad extension to commissioning of Water Metro and identifying non-ticket revenue sources.
Elias George took charge as MD of KMRL in August 2012, at a time when the Metro work was mired in land acquisition muddle and other teething problems. But the astute administrator that he is, George swung into action from day one, sewing up one loose end at a time by working in tandem with other stakeholders.
His motley list of achievements includes the first and second reaches of the Metro, water metro, city beautification projects and non-motorised transport projects. The decision to engage Kudumbashree members and transgenders in customer-facing sectors of Metro was George’s brainchild.
“Taking people into confidence was the major challenge,” he told reporters here on Tuesday. “Though it was a tall task, KMRL successfully addressed people’s concerns over surrendering land for the project. The experience and credibility of E Sreedharan and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, coupled with the efforts of the young and devoted KMRL team, made the timely and effective implementation of the project possible.”
On his decision to move out, he said it is a good time to quit as the project is at a turning point. “It will take another four years to complete the metro extensions and the water metro. A new chief could be able to effectively plan and implement it.”
Regarding the progress of various projects, he said discussions are on for the procurement of boats for water metro while the Centre’s nod is expected soon for the Kakkanad extension.
“The district administration has agreed to take over the remaining land from Thykoodam to Petta before December 15. Reconstruction of Chambakkara Bridge along the stretch will be a tough challenge.”
He said Kochi will be a global city in the next two years. Once the water metro is commissioned, Kochi will be the only city in the country where there is an integration of metro and boat services. The UMTA Bill will be presented before the Assembly in two days, after which seamless ticketing and integration of transport modes will become a reality.