Kerala State Govt prepares Blue Print for funding Phase-II Vyttila Hub of Kochi Metro

Kochi:  In yet another attempt to revive the second phase of Vyttila Mobility Hub, the Kerala state government is planning to rope in Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) for the Rs 433-crore project and avail loans from foreign funding agencies for the purpose. The blue print of the project, which has been stuck since 2011, will be revised to make it viable.

According to sources, authorities have started exploring possibilities of availing loans from foreign funding agencies such as the German development bank, KfW, and Agence Francaise de Developpment (AFD).

“These agencies are providing financial support for projects to integrate various modes of transport in the city. We have not been able to kick start the second phase due to fund shortage. Though the project was showcased in Partner Kerala, the investor meet held in Kochi in January 2014, it failed to find investors,” a government source said.

It is in this backdrop that the government is planning to rope in KMRL to revive the project. “The mobility hub is one of the key spots where all modes of transport, including the Metro rail, water and road, converge. So, it would be easier for the agency to avail loans from foreign funding agencies,” he said.

As per the plan under consideration, authorities are planning to bring down the cost and make the project viable.

“We will have to prepare a new design, but the commercial aspects will be retained. But, we will be able to do away with the earlier planned public-private partnership (PPP) mode,” a source said.

A detailed study on the number and type of passengers, and the kind of features and services required will be conducted.

“The cost of the project will certainly go down. The study report will be the base for an estimate,” the official said.

As per the existing design, the cost of the second phase of mobility hub project is Rs 433 crore. The original second phase plan included construction of boat and bus terminals, commercial space plus a parking lot. But the finance department raised objections, citing that the government cannot bear such a huge burden.

It was then decided to showcase the project at the Partner Kerala investor meet. Though the move failed, the government and the planning board continued to back the PPP mode.

KMRL has already expressed their willingness to sort out the issues in the first phase of the mobility. It has offered help to widen the entry and exit points of the hub and construct underpasses on the national highway and Vyttila-Tripunithura road to ensure smooth flow of buses to and from the hub.

Due to bottlenecks at the entry and exit points, many buses skip the hub, leaving passengers high and dry.