Delay in finalising alignment keeps Thiruvananthapuram metro project in limbo

The state government has not yet finalised an alignment, causing significant delays to the project.
Representative image
Representative image

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The much-awaited metro project in the state capital is still in a state of uncertainty due to the state government’s delay in finalising the alignment for the project.

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Centre’s nod to metro rail project in Thiruvananthapuram likely to be delayed

Though the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) — the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) roped in by the government for implementing metro projects in the state — has put forward five different alignments for the project in Thiruvananthapuram, the state government has not yet finalised an alignment, causing significant delays to the project.

The rapid transit system project conceptualised over a decade ago has repeatedly been included in budget presentations by successive governments but has failed to materialise. Initially, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (DMRC) proposed a monorail for the capital city.

Subsequently, the plan was reconsidered, and the state government remained committed to a light metro for many years without tangible progress.

During its previous term, the LDF government sanctioned administrative approvals for the proposed light metro projects in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode. In February 2021, the Kerala Rapid Transit Corporation Ltd (KRTL) submitted a revised Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the light metro after obtaining sanctions.

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Thiruvananthapuram metro rail project: DMRC commences field survey for DPR

However, the state government later decided to assign KMRL as the state's implementing agency for all metro projects. In response to suggestions about a LightTram metro for the capital city, KMRL MD Loknath Behera told TNIE it was merely a vendor proposal. He said, “The capital city qualifies for a conventional metro as per the Centre’s metro policy. We have presented five different alignments for the government to choose from, and we will be able to finalise the DPR once the alignments are confirmed.”

KMRL has submitted a preliminary DPR based on one of the alignments proposed by DMRC. According to DMRC’s estimates, the proposed conventional metro in the capital will cost approximately Rs 11,560 crore.

Behera explained that they studied various proposals to change the alignments and have suggested four additional options for the state government, emphasising that progress will be swift once the alignment is settled.

The capital’s escalating traffic and insufficient transportation infrastructure continue to pose challenges to residents in one of the state’s fastest-growing cities. Many have expressed discontent with the metro project’s planning. The Trivandrum Chamber of Commerce and Industries (TCCI) has voiced strong opposition against KMRL.

TCCI President S N Reghuchandran Nair announced plans to address the issue with the Centre, stating, “We are unaware of the project details and believe that KMRL is attempting to derail the metro project in the capital to allocate funds for expanding the metro networks in Kochi. We urge the government to assign the responsibility for implementing the metro rail project in the capital to DMRC. We met MP M K Raghavan and he also expressed concern regarding the metro project in Kozhikode. We will meet Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor and ask him to raise our concerns with the Centre.”

TCCI intends to propose an underground metro for the capital. Rs 11,560 cr - Cost of the proposed conventional metro in the capital as per Delhi Metro Rail Corp’s estimates

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