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First phase of Vytilla mobility hub commissioned

Staff Reporter

City urgently needs metro-rail system, says V.S. Achuthanandan

— Photo: Vipin Chandran

GREEN SIGNAL: Transport Minister Jose Thettayil flagging off the Kerala State Transport Corporation's double-decker bus from the Vytilla bus terminal on Saturday.

KOCHI: The first phase of the Rs. 376-crore Vytilla bus terminal-cum-mobility hub was commissioned on Saturday.

Kerala State Road Transport Corporation's (KSRTC) newly-inducted double-decker was the first bus to be flagged off from the terminal. Transport Minister Jose Thettayil flagged off the bus.

Thirty-five buses can be parked at the seven bays of the first phase terminal, constructed at a cost of Rs.15-crore .

Once it becomes a full-fledged terminal-cum-hub for inter-modal (road, metro-rail, railways and waterways) transport by March, 2013, up to 2,000 buses are expected to use the terminal each hour. There will also be space to park private vehicles, taxis, and autorickshaws. Eateries, public comfort stations and so on will also be set up.

In his speech, which was delivered through video conferencing, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said that the terminal would help in reducing the traffic congestion in the city to a great extent.

Suburban-rail corridor

“The recently commissioned Vallarpadam International Transshipment Terminal and the information technology (IT) projects in the pipeline will see a phenomenal increase in the number of vehicles in the city. Apart from the bus terminal-cum-mobility hub, the city urgently needs the metro-rail system for which the Centre is withholding permission. Similarly, Kochi did not get a suburban-rail corridor though Friday's railway budget sanctioned the same for many other cities.”

Mr. Achuthanandan said that nothing concrete was mentioned in the Railway budget about the proposed coach and wagon factories at Palakkad and Cherthala respectively.

Delivering the keynote address, Union Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs K.V. Thomas said that the Kochi metro-rail project would be a reality in a few years' time. “The State and Central governments must work together to push the project forward. The State got more than what was expected in the Railway budget. The Union budget too will augur well for the State.”

He said that Centre had planned a Rs.1 lakh crore subsidy scheme to provide rice and other essentials to people at a reasonable price, through the proposed Food Safety Bill. Political considerations should never come in the way of development, Mr. Thomas said.

Halt station for trains

Fisheries Minister S. Sarma elaborated on the proposal sent by the State government to the Centre seeking a halt station for trains at Vytilla. “This will bring the rail network too within reach of the mobility hub. A project has been submitted to the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission to complete the pending phases of the hub. Tenders are being finalised for phase two. Many public sector and scheduled banks have come forward to fund the second phase. The Rs.15 crore for the first phase was raised from the Greater Cochin Development Authority and a few other agencies.”

A memento was presented to Shaju Mathew, general manager, Nagarjuna Construction Company, which executed the work for the first phase within 72 days.

The project is modelled as an eco-friendly one and will also have a green belt within.

Managing Director of Vytilla Mobility Hub Society and former District Collector M. Beena and General Manager of KITCO, consultants for the project, Cyriac Davis, spoke.

Only a few city buses of KSRTC will ply from the terminal till March, when some pending work is expected to be finished. The buses will enter the terminal through the Kaniampuzha Road and will exit through the Vytilla-Tripunithura Road, few hundred metres from Vytilla Junction.

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