Thiruvananthapuram (TVC): Kerala state Chief Minister Mr Oommen Chandy and the State PWD Minister V.K. Ibrahimkunju will meet Union Minister for Urban Development Mr.Venkaiah Naidu soon at New Delhi to seek sanction for the Light Metro projects in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.
At the media briefing after the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Mr.Chandy said the state government had earlier written to the Union Minister for Urban Development seeking the centre’s approval for the projects on priority.
The government would go ahead with the land acquisition process and would also initiate steps for creating infrastructure facilities with the hope that the centre would give clearance at the earliest.
Commenting on a media query, the chief minister refuted reports that the project would be delayed following objections from the State Finance department.
It was a striking coincidence that both the projects ran into troubles in various stages right from the start . However the revised DPRs were approved by the State Government only recently.
Thiruvananthapuram Light Metro
Thiruvananthapuram’s first attempt to build a rapid transit system for the city failed, when its proposal to build a metro rail system was rejected by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in the 2000s. The Government of Kerala, then entrusted the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC), an autonomous research body under the State Government, to conduct the feasibility study of the proposal to build a monorail system in Thiruvananthapuram. The feasibility study was conducted by a core team comprising five scientists of NATPAC and various survey teams. Topographic studies, identification of stations and surveys were the main components of the study.
The State Government had initially asked the state transport department to prepare a detailed project report (DPR). However, the DMRC was later entrusted with the task. DMRC principal advisor E. Sreedharan submitted the DPR toChief Minister Oommen Chandy on 11 December 2012. A special purpose vehicle (SPV) was created in October 2012. The Thiruvananthapuram Monorail project was assigned to the KMCL on 26 November 2012. The government had handed over the Kozhikode Monorail project to the KMCL prior to that.
On 12 June 2013, the State Cabinet gave clearance for an agreement to be signed between KMCL and DMRC. The DMRC will receive 3.25% of the ₹ 55.81 billion (₹ 35.90 billion for Thiruvananthapuram and ₹ 19.91 billion for Kozhikode) in general consultant fees. The agreement was signed on 19 June 2013.
Global tenders were floated for the Thiruvananthapuram Monorail. The deadline for technical bids was extended from 1 October 2013 to 15 October. However, a consortium led by Bombardier Transportation was the only firm that expressed an interest before the deadline. Pre-bid queries had also been made by Japanese firm Hitachi, Malaysian firm Scomi, and firms from the United Kingdom, South Korea, and China. The tender for the proposed project only received one bid, so a second tender had to be issued. The deadline for bids was extended again to April 15.
Bombardier Transportation, Hitachi, Afcons, Scomi, and Larsen and Toubro expressed interest in the second round of tender submissions. A pre-bid meeting was held in New Delhi on 20 February 2014. Bidding on the Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram projects was delayed by the model code of conduct coming into effect prior to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
On 28 August 2014, the State Government decided to use Light Metro, instead of Monorail, in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, mainly due to cost overruns. Though slightly costlier, Light Metro has several advantages, such as easy raising of capacity, DMRC’s expertise in the field and more number of companies who can bid for the project.
The Thiruvananthapuram line will start from Technocity and terminate at Karamana covering a distance of 22.537 km with 19 stations, along the old NH 47. Slight accommodations were made for the proposed flyovers at Kazhakuttam, Sreekariyam and Ulloor. Special spans are proposed where the line crosses the railway line at Railway Km 221/6-8. The car depot is located on a 12.5 hectares of Government land near the CRPF Camp at Pallipuram. The project will be built in 3 phases. Stations would be located at Technocity, Pallippuram, Kaniyapuram, Kazhakuttom, Kazhakuttom Junction, Karyavattom, Gurumandiram, Pangappara, Sreekariyam, Pongumoodu, Ulloor, Kesavadasapuram, Pattom, Plamoodu, Palayam, Secretariat, Thampanoor, Killipalam, andKaramana. The line will be built in three phases.
Route 1 covers a distance of 7 km from Technocity to Kariavattom. It is expected to be commissioned 30 months after the contractor is finalised.
The light metro will have provisions for extension towards the south up to Neyyattinkara as well as towards north to attingal. There is another proposal to extend the network to Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.
The cost of the project, based on April 2012 prices, was ₹27.0256 billion (US$420 million) excluding taxes of ₹4.75 billion (US$74 million). The cost to construct each kilometre of the light metro was estimated as ₹ 1617.1 million. The Design, Build-Operate-Transfer (DBOT) mode was proposed. The State and Union governments were to each pay 20% of the cost, and the rest was to be paid by other investors such as banks.
In the 2012 State Budget, finance minister K. M. Mani, allotted ₹200 million (US$3.1 million) for the Thiruvananthapuram project. The project will be financed in part by a 5% state governemtn surcharge on petrol and diesel sales. The surcharge is expected to bring in ₹ 2.50 billion per year.
The operation and maintenance costs are divided into three major parts – staff costs, maintenance cost which include expenditure towards upkeep and maintenance of the system and consumables, and energy costs.
In 2015, the cost for the Technocity – Karamana section was revised to ₹ 4,219 crore.
Each train will be made up of 3 coaches on the formation – leading car / intermediate car / leading car. The length and width of the cars will be 18m and 2.7m respectively. The total length of train will be approximately 54 m.
Proposed fares for the light metro vary from a minimum of ₹ 8 for two km to ₹ 30 for 18–24 km. However, the minimum fare projected for 2019 is ₹ 11 and the maximum ₹ 42.
Replacement of Monorail
Representatives of Hyundai Rotem proposed in 2012 to use Maglev technology for setting up a mass rapid transport system in the city.
On 28 August 2014, the State Government decided to use Light Metro, instead of Monorail, in both Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, mainly due to cost overruns.
Personal Rapid Transit
A Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system in Thiruvananthapuram has been proposed by INKEL ltd. A shift of 40% of the car and auto rickshaw travellers to the new system is expected. The PRT will function as a feeder mode of transport to supplement the metro.
The project will be completed in two phases. The first will be from Pallipuram to Thampanoor and the second from Thampanoor to Neyyattinkara. Thirty-five stations are proposed and the track will pass through Vellayambalam, Palayam, Statue, Overbridge, East Fort and Thampanoor.
The approximate cost of the project is ₹ 60 crore per kilometre and it can be completed in 24 to 30 months.
Finance Minister K.M. Mani allocated ₹ 2.5 million in the 2012-13 State Budget for preliminary work on the PRT in Thiruvananthapuram and Kottayam.
The project is expected to be completed in 24 months from date of commencement.
Kozhikode Light Metro
Kozhikode Light Metro is a proposed mass rapid transport system (MRTS) for the city of Kozhikode (Calicut), in India. In 2010, the State government explored the possibility of implementing a metro rail project for Kozhikode city and its suburbs. The proposal was to have a corridor connecting the Karipur Airport to the Kozhikode Medical CollegeHospital through the heart of the city. An inception report was submitted by a Bangalore-based consultant, Wilber Smith, on the detailed feasibility study on the prospect of implementing the Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS) andLight Rail Transit System (LRTS) in the city. However, the project has been scrapped to be replaced by Kozhikode Monorail project. The State Cabinet then decided to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to implement monorail projects in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, and administrative sanction was given in October 2012. The state government issued orders entrusting the Thiruvananthapuram Monorail project to the KMCL on 26 November 2012. The government had handed over the Kozhikode Monorail project to the KMCL prior to that. On 12 June 2013, the State Cabinet gave clearance for an agreement to be signed between KMCL and DMRC, that would make the latter the general consultant for the monorail projects in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. The DMRC will receive a consultancy fee of 3.25% of the ₹ 55.81 billion (₹ 35.90 billion for Thiruvananthapuram and ₹ 19.91 billion for Kozhikode). The agreement was signed on 19 June 2013. However due to cost overrun and the cold response from the bidders the project was put on hold. Bombardier Transportation was the only bidder for the project. The project was later scraped and Light metro was proposed.
The Union Urban Development Ministry decided to consider the proposal for a Metro in Kozhikode after the success of the Delhi Metro and signed up for drawing the detailed project report (DPR) of the Rs.27.71 billion Kozhikode metro transport project with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation as a feasibility study for the introduction of suburban services in Kozhikode city. The Ministry decided to bear 50% of the cost of the preparation of the DPR for the city that comes under the population cut-off bracket. The preliminary feasibility study had been carried out by the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) in association with the Kerala Road Fund Board in December 2008. Based on this feasibility report, the Board entrusted Wilber Smith to conduct the study in June 2009. Already, the NATPAC has submitted a metro rail project covering a total distance of 32.6 km from Karipur to the Calicut Medical College. The cost of the project was estimated at Rs. 27.71 billion and was expected be completed within five years. The monorail project which replaced the metro rail project was estimated to cost Rs 1,991 crore has received a bid from the lone bidder Bombardier consortium, and was almost double of the estimate. The project was scrapped and the Light Metro has been approved.
As per the proposal for Metro, it would start from Karipur Airport, touching Ramanattukara, Meenchanda, Mini- Bypass, Arayadathupalam and culminate at the Medical College. The metro rail project will benefit, apart from the residents of the city, the neighbouring grama panchayats of Malappuram district and Kozhikode district. An estimated 2083,000 people would get the benefits of the new transportation system by 2031. The project, which can be partly finished within three years, will be economically and technically feasible. However the detailed project report prepared by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, the alignment for Kozhikode Monorail is retained for the Light metro poject.
The Union government was in favour of implementing the project with private participation, ruling out its own financial involvement. The Ministry of Urban Development and the Planning Commission were also against government investment in the project, and refused to accept it as a project in line with the Delhi Metroand Chennai Metro. The political rivalry between the earlier Left Front government in Kerala and the UPA government at the Centre was a major reason for such developments and the slow down in the project. The change in government in Kerala changed that scenario, making the Kozhikode Metro one of the top priorities of the UDF government. But later, not to affect the Kochi Metro project The Kerala cabinet under the Chief Ministership of Oommen Chandy decided to give clearance only for the Kozhikode Monorail project, replacing the Metro rail project.
The newly proposed Light Metro is proposed to be implemented as government initiative expecting a viability gap funding from the central and state government. Remaining fund is expected to be sourced internally and externally form competent agencies.