Row breaks out over Kochi Metro Rail project

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Thiruvananthapuram:  While the final clearance for the much talked about Kochi Metro Rail from the centre is yet awaited, a row has broken out over the Kerala government's casual announcement last week that the mega project would have to go through a global tender.

The announcement was met with disdain by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which said that it would withdraw from the project if the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) implements it all by itself.

At present, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is doing the realignment and reconstruction works of two railway over-bridges in Kochi city.

The opposition CPI-M in the state was quick to criticise the developments. Party politburo member and former State home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan Monday said the government of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is trying to oust the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on the sly.

"This is a Rs.5,000-crore mega project and they want to oust the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and then go for a global tender. They are doing this to pocket kickbacks. At no cost, should the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) be removed," said Balakrishnan.

"It is time that Chandy came clean on why they want to go for a global tender for this project when the expertise for this has been proved by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).Kerala would like to get an answer from Chandy on this," said CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.

Union Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi also asked the Chandy government to be cautious in the way the state government went about this project.

"I am sure Chandy will look into all the aspects before the government decides to go about the project," said Ravi.

"It is true that E. Sreedharan has retired from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) but he continues to be their consultant. My personal interest is that this mega project should be done by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), with Sreedharan as its consultant," union Minister for Agriculture and Civil Supplies K.V.Thomas to reporters in Kochi Monday.

But Chandy said the present controversy is needless and things would be sorted out. He added that he would certainly be able to end the present row.

The Kochi Metro Rail project is planned in the 26 km stretch between Tripunithura and Aluva, which would ease the traffic in Kochi city. The track is planned to come up above the ground, on pillars.

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