Kochi Metro Rail project head E Sreedharan has come down heavily on bureaucrats for the indefinite procedural delay of the project. “It is not the politicians but the bureaucrats who are responsible for the delay,” the ‘Metro Man’ said recently.
For each day that the metro rail project gets delayed, the cost of the project goes up by Rs 40 lakh, said E Sreedharan, Principal Advisor of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).
He pointed out that the project has still not been officially handed over to the DMRC. “Unless the project is handed over to us, it will not be possible to float the tenders or begin the work on the metro,” he said, adding, “Once the project is handed over to the DMRC, within one week we can float the tender for the project.”
Already there are concerns about the sustainability of the project which is currently estimated to cost Rs 5,182 crore. “When we submitted the report on the Kochi Metro, the project cost was just Rs 2,250 crore but due to the delay of seven years in the approval of the project, the cost has more than doubled, making it almost non-viable,” he said.
“If the project was approved on time, the Kochi Metro would have been running by now,” he said. “Since the Kochi Metro Rail Limited has been reconstituted and the government is committed to the project, we hope the procedures will be speeded up,” he said.
In order to make the project financially sustainable, every effort must be taken to deliver the project on time or even before it. “With every day that is saved, we save a sum of `40 lakh,” he said. Cutting down the operation and maintenance cost, commercial exploitation of the spaces for the Metro and bringing down the electricity cost were some of the other measures quoted by Sreedharan to make the metro financially viable.
“Within 10 years of the operation of the metro, it must able to stand on its own feet without having to go to government with a begging bowl for subsidies,” he said.