French development agency AFD may fund Kochi Metro extension

Kochi: A two-member team from the French development agency AFD (Agence Française de Développement), who is on a two-day visit to the city, held discussions with Kochi Metro Rail Limited authorities on the possible funding options for extending Metro Rail to Kakkanad.

AFD, which is funding the Metro project, had earlier expressed interest in funding the extension plans of the Metro proposed by KMRL.

Ms Priscille De Coninck, project manager, sustainable and transport division AFD, Paris and Ms Juliette Le Pannerer, project coordinator, AFD, Delhi visited the Metro sites and evaluated the project’s progress.

They visited the Metro corridor and the L&T casting yard near HMT Junction, coach maintenance depot at Muttom and Metro station work at Cochin University of Science and Technology.

The officials expressed satisfaction over the progress of the works and said that they were keen to associate with the project in all possible ways.

During the meeting with KMRL managing director Elias George and other senior officials, the team discussed the extension plans and possible cooperation in water transport and urban place-making projects.

The team also discussed the Metro social and environmental impact assessment reports. On Friday, the team will visit Vyttila mobility hub, a major transport convergence point.

They are also visiting the proposed Kakkanad extension route to assess the alignment. As part of funding the project, the AFD has already promised capacity building and technical support for urban transport development with the support of urban planning experts of CODATU, French non- profit organisation.

Experts of CODATU were in the city last month to study the city’s urban landscape and prepared a detailed road map for an integrated transport system for Kochi.