Kochi: The Kochi Metro Rail Ltd’s (KMRL) move to build a Metro station at the Kochi corporation-owned land near Government girls higher secondary school, Ernakulam, instead of having it on Southern railway premises has invited severe criticism as it could upset plans for seamless integration of public transport in the city.
Commuters will be forced to depend on other modes of transport to shuttle between Ernakulam south railway station and Kochi Metro’s station.
Terming it a self-defeating move, a senior official with Kochi Metro said, “The public expects Kochi Metro authorities to provide a hassle-free transportation facility. Across the world there is a practice of linking Metro systems with existing airports, railway stations, bus terminals and even ports. The new decision will force passengers either to walk between the two points or depend on other vehicles.”
The Ernakulam south (junction) is one of the major points on Kochi Metro’s route, and it is a point where the road, railway and Metro network meet. Even there exists a possibility of developing south railway station to international standards.
As KMRL announced the move to relocate Metro station after the declaration of Lok Sabha polls, neither the Centre nor state government could take a “political decision in favour of Kochi Metro”. It could also lead to a situation where various other agencies which acquired land for development works denying land for Kochi Metro.
Expressing concern over the development P Rajeev, MP, said, “This is a serious situation. KMRL is a joint venture of both central and state governments. And it was the state government which helped in acquiring land for railway. Other agencies which have received similar benefit from the state could cite the example of railway and deny land for the prestigious project.”
He also demanded that Union minister K V Thomas “should own up the responsibility of Kochi Metro not getting land from railway”.