THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A crucial meeting on the light metro projects of Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode will be held on Monday.
At a meeting convened on April 28, a consensus could not be reached between the DMRC and the Finance Department as both of them had stuck to their respective stands. Following this, the government has asked for 10 days’ time which ended on Monday.
Though the official sources said that chances to adopt a partial PPP model is on the cards, the statement released by E Sreedha ran, principal advisor to DMRC, on Sunday, revealed that he had no intention of supporting the PPP model for the light metro projects. He also listed the flaws in pursuing a project like Light metro in the PPP mode. Sreedharan claimed that the first hybrid version of PPP which was for Delhi airport line had resulted in much confusion.
‘’The condition was that the supply and installation of systems including operation and maintenance were entrusted to a private party on open tender basis. The cost of the civil structure and land would be borne by the DMRC. However, the commissioning was delayed for six months. After operating the line for about one-and-a-half years, the private parties abandoned the project and walked out of the contract. Now they are fighting a case with DMRC. Hence, such a formula for Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode light metro projects will not yield results, where revenue prospects are bleak compared to Delhi airport line,” he said, in a release issued on Sunday. He also alleged that the PPP partner usually bloats the estimate, inflate ridership figures and avail hefty loans from banks and then they pocket their profit and walk out.
‘’The operation of the Delhi airport line could be continued without any break as DMRC was the owner. But it will not be the case with Kerala Rapid Transit Corporation Ltd which does not have the experience and resources to suddenly take over the operation and maintenance in case the private party quits the project,” he stated.
KPCC president V M Sudheeran has written a letter to the Chief Minister stressing the need for the State Government to run the project and also to retain E Sreedharan at the helm of the project. However, the Finance Department had openly questioned the project report prepared by the DMRC. Its major demand was to bring in private participation to which Sreedharan was firmly against. The department also wanted Kerala Rapid Transit Corporation Ltd to take immediate steps to invite tenders to select a ‘project consultant’ for the project through an open and transparent international bidding process. Besides, they wanted the government to consider medium metro instead of light metro.
Another allegation against DMRC was that it had taken a consultation fee of `9 crore and then they abandoned the project.