Kochi: Work on the Kochi metro will get a boost with France agreeing to an over Rs.1,000-crore soft loan here on Friday, nearly three months after its government’s lending arm Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) had approved the proposal.
Rajesh Khullar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, and AFD Chief Executive Officer Anne Paugam were the signatories. French Ambassador to India Francois Richier was a cosignatory to the credit facility agreement. KMRL Managing Director Elias George was present.
The delay in reaching an agreement was due to negotiations on French loan conditions. The Kochi Metro, a joint venture between the Union and Kerala governments, with the work subcontracted to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, was looking for a fresh avenue for funds. The project from Aluva to Petta had already started after being inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2012.
The AFD’s orientation to the project was consequent to France’s initiatives to forge better ties with India. France shared with India several strategic interests.