|Kochi : The Centre has given its nod to the realization of the dream project of Kerala – the Kochi metro – on Tuesday. The Rs. 5181 crore project would carry trains on elevated tracks from Pettah to Aluva, a distance of 25.6 kilometers. There would be a total of 23 stops, and the trains would cover the distance in 30 minutes. 45% of the estimated cost would be loaned by JICA (Japan Investment Corporation Agency). The state and central governments would pool in with 15% each. The rest would be raised through private sources.
If everything goes well, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would lay the foundation stone for the project on August 12. The project would be completed within four years. A total of 32 hectares of land would be needed for building the metro line. The delay in land acquisition process is the major worry threatening the timely completion of the project.
Tom Jose, the Managing Director of Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) has said that the metro line would be moduled with road and water transport to form an integrated transport network for Kochi city. Edappally station is mooted to be developed to this effect and the project would be the first of its kind in Kerala.
Kochi city currently has an average vehicular traffic speed of less than thirty kilometers per hour. The demography and geography of the place writes off the possibility for any major road expansion work to be carried out here. The option of a metro rail was first put forward ten years ago in 2002. The Kochi metro would begin its initial run with three compartments, making it the smallest metro rail system in India. The number would then be gradually increased to six. The ticket charges would vary between Rs. 12 and Rs. 30.
Expansion plans include extending the metro line till Nedumbassery
International Airport. The present population of Kochi is slightly more
than one million, while metro rails could prove their investment’s worth
only if the city has a minimum of three million people. The
constructing of elevated rails would also hinder the road development
projects to be carried out in future. The metro system also carries the
possibility of running at a loss, at least in the initial years.
Image Courtesy: kochimetro.org