Kochi Metro stakeholders demand widening of two arterial roads

ki24metro_eps_1527714fThe Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) will request the State government to fast-track the long-pending widening of Thammanam–Pullepady road and Vyttila-Petta road. The decision was taken here on Tuesday following a meeting to review progress of works for the Kochi metro.

The two roads, owned by the Kochi Corporation and the PWD respectively, were crucial for ensuring smooth flow of vehicles during Kochi metro’s construction and even later since they provided the much-needed east-west connectivity, stakeholders who participated in the meeting said. Minister for Transport Aryadan Mohammed emphasized the need to ensure minimal traffic diversion so that the public was not inconvenienced.

PROJECT DEADLINE

After detailed discussions, the participants were hopeful that that the first reach of the metro, 13 km from Aluva to Palarivattom, would be completed by December 2015, while the second reach up to Pettah would be ready by March 2016.

LAND ACQUISITION

District Collector P.I. Sheikh Pareeth assured Mr. Mohammed that the metro’s land acquisition process would be completed by the end of August this year. It was noted that 18 hectares of the 40 hectares required for the project had been handed over to the KMRL.

Addressing media persons, Mr. Mohammed expressed satisfaction at there being very little objection to acquiring land for the metro.

To a question on extending the metro up to Tripunithura in the project’s phase one, he said a study on the issue was on and a decision would be taken shortly.

Presentations on the project and the progress of works were made by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) Principal Advisor E. Sreedharan and MD of KMRL Elias George. The meeting also decided to fast-track the handing over of 11 tracts of government land required for the project.

M.G. ROAD WORKS

Aimed at ensuring minimal inconvenience to road users and merchants, it was decided that the widening of narrow portions and construction of metro’s viaduct along M.G. Road would be taken up together so that the entire work would be completed by the earliest possible date. The district administration would convene a stakeholder meeting in this connection on July 27.

It was also decided that a definite action plan would be prepared for listing all utility lines and cables that would be relocated prior to metro’s civil works commencing in more parts of the alignment.

TRADE UNION ISSUES

Taking note of demands raised by head load workers unions for ‘nookukooli’ and regular jobs, the stakeholders opined that genuine concerns of the labour force and trade unions would be addressed in a reasonable and fair manner. But work would not be allowed to suffer because of any reason. It was also decided to have a reasonable labour policy regime and protocol for the project.

Mr. Mohammed cited the need for a permanent mechanism to settle labour-related issues.

Mr. Mohammed launched the revamped website of KMRL. Elaborating on the features, Mr. Elias George said it was in keeping with the agency’s information-push policy. “There is an ‘ideas box’ in which members of the public can submit suggestions,” he said.

First phase to be ready by March 2016

Work on the first 13-km phase of the Kochi Metro Rail project will be over by December 2015 and the remaining 12 km by March 2016.

The progress of the ongoing work was evaluated at the review meeting convened by Minister of Power and Transport Aryadan Muhammed with KMRL officials here on Tuesday.

The meeting has also decided to take up with government to fast-track the widening of the Thammanam – Pullepady road and the Vyttila – Petta road to ensure greater road traffic mobility in the construction phase.

The Minister emphasised the need to undertake traffic diversions in such a manner that minimum inconvenience would be caused to the public.

The meeting also undertook a detailed review of the progress of land acquisition, and it was noted that out of 40 hectares required for the project, around 18 ha were already handed over to KMRL.

The district administration assured the Minister that the total land acquisition process would be completed by the end of August.

The meeting also took note of the fact that 11 parcels of government land needed to be handed over for the project construction, and it was decided to fast-track these proposals so that the land is made available to KMRL by the end of August.

It was observed in the meeting that while the genuine concerns of the labour force and the trade unions related to Kochi Metro work would be addressed in a reasonable and fair fashion, the work on the project would on no account be allowed to suffer because of labour disruptions.

It was also decided to have a reasonable labour policy regime and protocol for the Kochi Metro project that would be applicable to all the reaches and the various elements of project implementation.

The Minister requested all the parties involved in the execution of the project to ensure that not a day is wasted on project execution and that the deadline announced is adhered to, as the people of Kochi desire an early completion of the metro system, and nothing should be allowed to come in the way of this task.

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