Light Metro projects in Kerala on track, says Sreedharan

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 27 (IANS) ‘Metro Man’ E. Sreedharan on Saturday denied reports that there is a difference of opinion between him and the Kerala government over the proposed Rs.6728 crore light metro projects to be implemented in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram.

“There exists no difference of opinion at all. Since they are government officials, they will have a lot of questions to ask and it’s our duty to clarify it,” Sreedharan told reporters here.

There have been media reports that things are not fine between Sreedharan and the state finance department over the proposed light metro project.

Sreedharan said the central government was examining the detailed project report, which was approved by the Kerala cabinet, and is expected to give an in principle approval to it in three months’ time.

The state government has engaged the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) as interim consultants to identify and take up the preliminary and preparatory works, he said.

“As things stand today, they (DMRC) are the only ones who are capable of taking up this project and whether they should be given the final contract rests with the government.”

Sreedharan said the work for the project could start as soon as the in principle approval was received.

“The first phase of the 21.82 km in the capital city will be ready in three years’ time and the entire 13.33 km Kozhikode project will be completed in four years’ time,” said Sreedharan.

He said Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had agreed to provide financing — Rs.4733 crores with an interest rate of 0.3 per cent and a 10-year moratorium on repayment with another 30 years for actual repayment.

“The rest of the funds will come from the state and the centre,” said the ‘Metro Man’.

Sreedharan enjoys an iconic status in the country in implementation of rail transport projects, credited with being the leader in realising with despatch and efficiency the hugely challenging Konkan Railway as well as the Delhi Metro Rail project.

He is also overseeing the Kochi Metro project which is expected to begin commercial operations on November 1 this year. If that happens, the project will become the fastest completed project in the country.

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