It is a fitting recognition of Kochi’s growing importance on the urban map of India that the Union Government have sanctioned the Kochi Metro Rail Project to Kerala in July 2012. Kochi is the first tier-2 city in the country to be granted a metro under the Union Government’s scheme; whereby the Government of India and the State Government are equal equity partners in KMRL. As we all know, the active pursuit of the project by the State Government was largely instrumental in obtaining this sanction. Consequently, the foundation stone for Kochi Metro Rail was laid by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on 13th September 2012 at Kochi.
After the project was sanctioned, the Govt. of Kerala and the Board of Kochi Metro Rail Ltd. took a decision to nominate DMRC as the executing agency for the project, in view of the company’s proven expertise in the area. KMRL have set themselves very tight timelines for the completion of the Kochi Metro Rail project and the company is confident that the timeline would be more than equal to this task.
Kochi Metro and DMRC have recently concluded an agreement for the implementation of the project, which attempts to balance the roles and responsibilities of both organizations, while ensuring the project is completed on time. A key feature of this agreement is that a part of the project executing team would be staff recruited by KMRL and seconded to DMRC. Joint consultative and co-ordination mechanisms have also been incorporated into the Agreement for ensuring that both organizations work seamlessly for the efficient and timely execution of the project.
Around 45% of the project cost is proposed to be funded by borrowings, for which KMRL is looking at a funding package comprising of domestic debt as well as external loans. In view of the tight schedules for the project, KMRL’s funding plan is to source domestic funds immediately and to avail overseas loans as soon as they become available.
KMRL plans to build a cost effective metro for Kochi, while at the same time ensuring that the modern features available in metros worldwide are available to the commuters of Kochi also. This is the reason for the introduction of the CBTC system which will enhance train operation efficiency and safety.
The Govt. of Kerala have been kind enough to allot around 17 acres of land at Kakkanad to KMRL on a long term lease basis, where plans are being done to set up a modern urban amenity centre, with a variety of facilities for Kochinites. At the Kakkanad facility, KMRL plans to have a mix of urban amenities, shopping centres, recreational spaces as well as commercial complexes which will not only add value to the city, but also enhance the revenues of KMRL. The proposed metro village at Muttom will also show case the best that the city has to offer.
KMRL in conjunction with the State Government as well as Cochin Corporation and GCDA will also lead an effort to modernize and improve the total transportation network of Kochi by implementing the concept of the Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) where all the transportations system in the city will function together seamlessly.
Kochi metro is a project that will change the face of Kochi. The wholehearted support of all citizens of Kochi is necessary for realizing this vision. The minor inconveniences during the time of construction, without doubt, would be looked over by the enlightened people of Kochi for this common endeavour.
Let’s look forward to the inaugural run of the metro trains in this beautiful city of ours.