Metro rail, a soon reality in three years for the Queen of the Arabian sea, Kochi. The first tier-II city, Kochi, among all the states of India to be allowed the metro rail transit system under the Central Government plan, which is to permit cities for a metro rail which has population over 2 million. The rapid transit system project was inaugurated last year on September 13th as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid the stone and our Chief Minister, Shri. Oommen Chandy waved green, officially commencing the piling work at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, Kochi. Chief Minister expressed his excitement and said, it was a ‘proud moment’ for God’s own country, a beginning for the dream come true for Kochiites.
The ambitious project was first named Komet (short name of Kochi Metro) by KMRL’s first Managing Director, Tom Jose, and now as per official implications, the`5,182-crore Metro Rail is rechristened as ‘Kochi Metro.’ The project is undoubtedly challenging and the first phase of construction alone is calculated around 5181crore.
Let’s see the vision of this colossal project and it’s strategic plans.
The metro rail project is set with the intent of guaranteeing a world-class system which elevates the quality of life. The mission put forward by Kerala Government assigned to DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) is to offer people of Greater Kochi area a safe, user-friendly, efficient, environmentally feasible and reliable rapid transit system.
- Improve regional connections, completely cutting traffic congestion, overcrowding, reducing the risks of pollution and transit time.
- Connect with various stakeholder groups such as business groups, architects, planners, community groups, environmental groups, State and Central Government and regulatory agencies to improve the quality of life.
- Ease transportation to NedumbasseryInternational Airport, thereby building an inter-connectivity system.
- Extend metro to Fort Cochin.
- Better the economic endurance of Kochi by improving its infrastructure and developing the city as a great hub for transportation (by linking with rails, bus routes) and tourism.
The long dream for years will come true in three years only if we could keep labour, land acquisition issues, hartals, strikes, unnecessary political indulgences at bay.
E. Sreedharan, principal advisor to both the Delhi and Kochi Metro Rail Corporation said, “the metro rail project can be a reality within three years if various issues like strikes, shortage of sand and labour problem are avoided.” he added, social commitment is of utmost importance which helped Delhi Metro to see a completion before the scheduled date, which once again showed the power of collaboration.
Enforcing this Central-State joint venture with private – public partnership, will reap good for the city, the same time we need to overlook on the conflicting issues. Kochi Metro could change the facelift of the city, moving to a greener, pollution free metro, but can it really brush aside the fears?
Let’s see the public concerns on the project.
- Metro can be expensive, which can become a second thought for the straphangers who depend on public transportation.
- A solid concern is the money one need to actually shed to make use of the metro service. Contradictory to the convenience metro rail offers, those who stay not so close from the station need to hire a taxi, auto-rickshaw, bus or even look for private commute options to reach the metro station first, then after having used the metro to reach the destination, one would can only get to the exact ‘destination’ only after spending for another local transit like the first. Finally when figuring the total amount spent on transportation including metro, it will be big on the pockets.
- The tax rate could go high by the launch of Kochi Metro.
- Looking the economic concerns, some crowd suggests flyovers over metro, though it reduces traffic jam. Calculating the cost, as 10 flyovers would cost around 300 crores, whereas a single metro rail is set up an estimated cost of 5,000 crores.
- Kochi would definitely grow the coming years, but comparing to the infrastructure and population rates to larger metro like Delhi and Chennai, it could be an unwanted expense for the current state of Kochi.
- Expecting a high rise or sudden inflation of land value around the areas clinging to Kochi Metro by private players would definitely make cost of living real hard for the crowd.
- Fear that working with private stakeholders can result in massive cost overrun and delay in construction, a possibility which can’t be set aside, as it happened in Hyderabad and Mumbai transportation project.
The tight schedule of the metro package declared that, 45% of the project cost would be funded from external loans and borrowings from domestic funding bodies, kept as an immediate source next to availing overseas loans. KMRL has plans to build up a cost effective metro though assuring modern features similar to international metros for the Kochiites. This makes Kochi commuters more anticipated of the CBTC (Communications-Based Train Control) system introduced to check on the safety concerns.
Though it was difficult to beat the monsoon tremors and unpredictable weather conditions, the piling and digging work is currently at progress seeking to cope up the delay.
This prestigious infrastructure project of the state launched for the benefit of urban agglomeration is expected to finish by 7th June 2016 if all the minor issues, unprecedented barriers are put through the right way. For the success of metro trains to run smooth in the city, Government seeks determined support of Kochiites, which will surely make the venture an identifiable credit on the urban map of India.