Kochi Metro: French funding to materialise by December

French financial institution Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) will commit the funding for Kochi Metro Rail Ltd by December 2013. Prior to entering into a financial deal with Kochi Metro Rail Ltd, the representatives of the French agency will again pay a visit to Kochi, mainly to analyse the Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) Policy and the socio- environmental aspects of the project.

“The AFD mission led by town planning experts will visit Kochi in September.Once the visit and the reviewis over, the loan processing will begin. The AFD Board which will meet in December is likely to commit the funding for the Kochi Metro Rail project,” KMRL MD Elias George told reporters after discussions with AFD senior transport expert Xavier Hoang, regional director for South Asia Aude Flogny and project coordinator GautierKohler.

AFD can offer loan up to150 million euros at 2 percent interest rate with a repayment period of 20 years along with a moratorium of nine years. The KMRL is looking for an external borrowing of 130 million euros(nearly Rs 1,035 crore) from the French agency.

The Kochi Metro project needs an external borrowing of about Rs 2,170 crore. For the remaining 50 per cent of the external borrowing for the project, KMRL is pinning its hopes on the loan from the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).

“We hope that the funds will be available by March 2013. AFD is keen on the R&R policy and socio-environmentalimpact of the project. We have already invited Expression of Interest (EoI) from agencies for preparing the Social and Environmental Impact Assessment.On the basis of theEoIs received, we have already shortlisted the agencies and the work will be awarded soon,” George added.

He said that the AFD usually provides technical assistance for projects that are funded by it and KMRL is looking forward to benefiting from the technical expertise of the French agency for the successful execution of the ambitious Kochi Metro Rail project.

The AFD team, which is inthe city for a three-day deliberation session, will conductan other site visit on Saturday to several areas, including Kakkanad and Nedumbassery,where the Kochi Metro Rail will be extended in the second phase.