944622_613649798656538_1467359032_nKochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) managing director Elias George IAS on 17th December (Tuesday) said the Kochi metro rail will be extended to Tripunithura in the first phase of the project itself. He was addressing the media after discussions with Rail India Technical and Economic Service (Rites) officials held at the KMRL office in Kochi.

Regarding the findings in the preliminary report ,KMRL Managing Director Mr. Elias George said that the report has identified the “ route to Tripunithura through S N junction from Petta along the Kochi- Dhanushkodi highway. This reach up to S.N. Junction can be executed at an approximate cost of Rs 200 crore.”  This project can also be undertaken as part of the present first phase of Kochi Metro.

A meeting will be held with DMRC Principal Advisor E Sreedharan on 18th December 2013 (Wednesday) to study the strategy regarding the expansion of the project to Tripunithura via SN Junction. Elias George IAS said the KMRL would have to forward the project expansion report at the director board which will then have to be approved by the state cabinet in due course, he added.

KMRL has found it viable to extend Kochi Metro from Aluva to Angamaly via Nedumbassery airport. The extension of the metro  from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to Kakkanad Infopark will also be considered in the second phase. Subsequent extension from SN junction to other parts of Tripunithura could also fall in the second phase of the project. Shri. Elias George IAS added that the RITES’ report has also considered the feasibility of the Kochi Metro expansion to Western Kochi areas, including Fort Kochi, Mattanchery and Thoppumpady.

The extension of metro rail via Gandhi Square, which was expected to reach Tripunithura, is not feasible due to the presence of waterways in the route. “It has been cited in the Rites report that if the metro is extended through the route, it will create a lot of ecological imbalance. So, we are not considering the extension through the route,” Elias George IAS added.

Meanwhile, the RITES interim report presented before the KMRL has shown that the share of public transport in Kochi had come down drastically from 70 per cent to 59 per cent in 12 years. In order to maintain the share of public transport in the city, new modes of transport like monorails and Kochi metro rail are requisite as per the Rites report. Otherwise, public transport share will come down to less than 50 per cent.

With the metro rail, the share of public transport can be brought up to 66 per cent. Also, the report has shown that the roads in Kochi cannot take anymore traffic movement unless the roads are improved.

This is not a possibility in Kochi, so modes of transport like  metro rail is the only alternative, the report stated. Rites general manager Sanjiv Bhutani, general manager Y P Sachdeva and the rest of the team were present at the meeting.

In support of the need for extending the Metro Mr. Elias George IAS said that the RITES study has found that the proportion of city dwellers using public transport, especially buses have come down drastically in last 12 years and if a ‘business as usual’ scenario is continued the percentage of passengers opting for public transport may come down to below 50%; leading to further congestion in the city roads. The relevance of second phase of Kochi Metro is based on the need to enhance the share of public transport in the city mobility plan. The preliminary report was presented by RITES group general manager Sanjiv Bhutani, general manger Y P Sachdeva and their team.

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