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Efforts on to put Kochi metro back on track

Staff Reporter

Centre has not shelved the project: K.V. Thomas

KOCHI: Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs K.V. Thomas met the Managing Director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation E. Sreedharan at New Delhi on Tuesday to ensure the speedy implementation of the Kochi metro-rail project.

Mr. Sreedharan spoke about the manifold advantages of implementing the project as a Centre-State partnership scheme, than one with private participation.

“He suggested that the Delhi model, being replicated in Chennai and Bangalore, is best suited for the Kochi metro. The State government has already earmarked Rs.148 crore for the preliminary works of the project,” Mr. Thomas told The Hindu over telephone. The LDF government had insisted that the project should be executed on the model of the Delhi Metro, without private participation. This was because large tracts of land would have to given to the private player to raise capital for the project and this would be tough in Kochi, he said. Private participation for the Hyderabad metro and phase one of the Mumbai metro did not work out well, despite land being handed over to private firms.

“I spoke to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and a decision would be taken when he comes to New Delhi,” Mr. Thomas said and added that the Centre had not shelved the project. It had only postponed taking a decision, he said.

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