By BS Reporter
Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) will invite expression of interest (EoI) for conducting a feasibility study for extending the project to Angamaly, Kakkanad and to Mattanchery/Fort Kochi. This will be done in subsequent phases of expansion of the metro. The first leg will be of 26 km, connecting Aluva to Thripunithura (Petta).
The KMRL board has decided to explore the possibility of extending the line to the western part of the city, Mattanchery/Fort Kochi, which is the most populated area. Extension of the metro corridor to Angamaly would involve additional 13 km and to Kakkanad around 10 km while extensions to Mattanchery/ Fort Kochi would involve a distance of around 12 km.
There is already pressure from the public to extend the line to Angamaly, which is north of Cochin International Airport, and to Kakkanad, which houses the civil station and is also the location for SEZ industrial units, Infopark as well as the proposed Smart City.
The board has also decided to invite EoI for conducting a social impact assessment and for preparing a resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) plan for the project. This is important in the light protests against land acquisition for various projects in the vicinity of the city. It may be noted that the agitation of the people of Moolampilly is still on.
In 2005, an Environment Impact Assessment was conducted for the project by the School of Environmental Studies, Cochin University of Science and Technology as part of the detailed project report. This however, contained a brief social impact assessment and a comprehensive assessment is required on the basis of the present metro corridor, which would form the basis for R&R plan.
The board constituted a subcommittee to negotiate and prepare the draft contractual agreement with DMRC. The subcommittee will be chaired by KMRL managing director Elias George and includes SK Lohia, DD Pahunja and VP Joy.
Apart from the main funding for the project, the board also decided to explore options of supplementary funding for specified components of the project. Ut will also explore the possibility of getting financial assistance from agencies other than the Japan International Co-operation Agency.