Final word on Kochi Metro’s terminal station by January

A detailed project report will decide where rides on metro in city will end

ki23metro_r_eps_1627194fA decision on setting up Kochi Metro’s terminal station on nine acres of unused land owned by the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) near Irumpanam will be taken by January, say KMRL sources. A call will be taken after Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) submits its feasibility and detailed project report in January 2014. After a string of protests, KMRL had recently decided to extend Kochi Metro from Pettah to Tripunithura in phase one of the project. People’s representatives, NGOs, apex bodies of residents’ associations and other organisations had been raising the demand for the past few years.

Beneficial move

They had also demanded steps to shift the metro’s terminal station from Pettah to the SAIL land located adjacent to the Tripunithura railway station. The residents claimed the move would augment inter-modal connectivity.

Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammed said in May that the metro would be extended up to Tripunithura in the project’s phase one itself. The delay in taking a decision on the kilometre-long extension had invited flak from different quarters.

“We have asked RITES to speed up the process so that we can seek the Centre’s approval and take a call on raising funds for the extension,” a KMRL spokesperson said. The official said there was widespread demand to construct the metro’s terminal station and a mega parking lot at Tripunithura.

A decision on the matter would take time as there was a possibility to extend the metro to Kakkanad from either Palarivattom or from Tripunithura through Airport-Seaport Road, the official said.

According to sources, DMRC or KMRL will carry out work to extend the metro to Tripunithura in phase one. KMRL and DMRC are learnt to have decided to build metro’s Tripunithura extension in four years. A decision on a feasible alignment for the extension and the location of the terminal station will be taken after RITES submits its report.

However, the State government and KMRL are yet to hold official talks with SAIL. This opens up the possibility of constructing a metro station further south of SN Junction.

Sources said Pettah-SN Junction road was extremely narrow and so widening it beyond a few metres and building metro’s via duct through the centre was tough.

‘No delay’

Meanwhile, officials said the proposed extension was not a major one and would not in any way delay Kochi Metro’s commissioning.

Following a request from Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, DMRC’s Principal Advisor E. Sreedharan had promised to complete the project in three years.

Sources in DMRC said the extension to Tripunithura would ensure more passenger patronage for the metro.

They said the suggestion to run feeder buses from Tripunithura up to metro’s present terminal station at Pettah might not work. This was because commuters could shun the metro and commute to the city in private vehicles.

Though a decision has been taken on the extension, the Tripunithura Rajanagari Union of Residents’ Associations (TRURA) has expressed concern at the “casual” approach of the government and KMRL to implement the plan.

V.P. Prasad, chairman of the association, said the extension would be beneficial if the terminal station was built on SAIL land. “We will soon launch a mass protest against inaction by stakeholders,” he said.

Another vital report

On extending the metro up to Kakkanad, international airport and possibly Fort Kochi, sources said RITES was expected to submit a feasibility report to KMRL in six months. KMRL might start work on the extensions in the project’s phase two, sources said.