Kochi Metro Rail Project close to being realised

kochi metro rail route mapA bouquet of achievements awaits Kerala with the longawaited Kochi Metro Rail Project close to being realised and Kozhikode set to be included in the expanded Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) project.

The Planning Commission, after long and hefty persuasion by the Ministry of Urban Development, has given the green signal to the Metro Rail Project on the lines proposed by the State - a joint venture of the State Government and the Centre.

Kozhikode will figure in the expanded JNNURM project wherein the Ministry has decided to include 28 cities with five lakh population.

The Metro Rail Project, which could change the face of Kochi, has been put on the fast track with its inclusion in the 100-day programme of the Ministry of Urban Development. This was announced by Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy while divulging his Ministry’s action plan in the coming 100 days.

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The Kochi Metro

The Kochi Metro is a proposed mass transit system for the South Indian city of Kochi. It was one of the first proposed in India but was delayed for a variety of reasons. It is now planned to be commissioned by 2011. The alignment was created by the DMRC and is planned to be made on a Public-Private Partnership basis. The nodal agency for the project is KINFRA. Kochi Metro Rail Corporation has been created specially for this project.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has proposed a route spanning 25.253 from Thripunithura to Alwaye.There will be 26 Stations and are the following:

  1. Aluva
  2. Pulinchodu
  3. Company Pady
  4. Ambattkavu
  5. Muttom
  6. Appolo Typres
  7. Jacobite Church
  8. Kalamaserry
  9. Pathadi Palam
  10. Toll Junction
  11. Edapally Junction
  12. Edapally Station
  13. Palarivattom
  14. Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium
  15. Kaloor
  16. Lissie
  17. Madhav Pharmacy
  18. Maharaja's College
  19. Ernakulam South
  20. GCDA
  21. Fathima Church
  22. Elamkulam
  23. Vytila
  24. Thaikoodam
  25. Punithura
  26. Petta

KSEB demands land back, if SmartCity Kochi becomes a reality

The Kerala State Electricity Board has demanded the 104 acres of land earmarked for the Smarcity project which was taken from the KSEB back. The move comes in the wake of delay in implementing the Smartcity project.

Talking to media here, Electricity Minister AK Balan said, the move was necessary because the Tecom authorities were using pressure tactics.

The 100 acres of land previously owned by KSEB was included in the lease agreement signed between the State government and Tecom, and was given for Smartcity project after a long drawn battle.


Kerala CM snubs minister on Smart City Kochi Project

The factional feud in the Kerala-unit of the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M) surfaced once again Wednesday with Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan snubbing his industries minister here, saying his cabinet colleague had no role in the proposed Rs.1,500-crore ($316-million) Kochi Smart City IT park project.
“In this project, he has no role,” Achuthanandan snapped after reporters quizzed him on Industries Minister Elamaram Kareem’s recent statement that all contentious issues regarding the IT project would be resolved in a week.

The factional feud in the CPI-M is centred around Achuthanandan and the party’s state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, to whom Kareem owes allegiance.

The Smart City project seems to have collapsed after its overseas developers, Smart City Dubai, Sunday said it had withdrawn the contract with UK-based planner Collin Buchnan to develop the IT township project.

It said its decision was taken as the state government was not honouring the agreement the two had reached.

Achuthanandan, who also handles the IT portfolio, said he has asked Chief Secretary Neela Gangadharan to initiate talks with the Dubai developer to sort out differences.

Smart City Dubai urged the state government June 1 to assure 12 percent of the land for the project be made freehold.

The company said despite its “best efforts to sort out issues by way of action”, it has “only heard statements” in the media about more discussions on the subject.

There has been no progress in the Smart City Kochi project since Achuthanandan laid the foundation stone Nov 16, 2007.

The project, proposed to be jointly launched by the state government and Smart City Dubai, is slated to come up on a 246-acre plot with 8.8 million square feet of built-up space, of which 70 percent is earmarked for IT and IT-enabled services.

The government has already given a special economic status to 136 acres of the project area.

However, it has also not completed registration of the land nor settled the stamp duty issue.

Tecom, the Dubai based promoters of the Smart CityIT Project in Kochi, yesterday announced they have closed their contract with the UK based Master Planning Consultants for the project.

SmartCity CEO Fareed Abdulrahman said once the Kerala Government resolves the 39 acres freehold land issue, and 'we mutually agree on the way forward, the Master Planners will recommence developing SmartCity Kochi'.

In a statement here he said, to protect the best interest of Smartcity Kochi and its stakeholders, and further to all activities that were put on hold until now, they have been forced to close the contract with the UK based consultants.

Reiterating their commitment to the project, Abdulrahman said they were sure that with the support of the Kerala government on pending issues, Smartcity will be a success.

Tecom wanted the Kerala government to take a decision by December this year on the 39 acres freehold land issue out of the 246 acres of land allotted to the project.

'The government has to assure us that whenever the masterplan is ready, we will get the freehold', CEO had said recently. The project is a joint venture project between the government and Tecom.

Kerala Fisheries Minister S Sarma, who is the Project Chairman, said the UK-based consultants were appointed after floating global tenders and as per the decision of the Board of Directors.

Sarma said he would discuss with Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and would seek a reply from Tecom on the reason for stopping the consultancy.

Smart City Kochi should not be delayed any further: Infosys chief Kris GopalakrishnanInfosys Technologies chief executive Kris Gopalakrishnan Friday asked the Kerala government to take quick steps to solve the hurdles that stand in the way of the Rs.1,500-crore ($316 million) Smart City IT project, to come up in Kochi.

His statement comes days after Smart City Dubai, the developer of the project, gave an ultimatum to the state government to sort out the land dispute surrounding it before the end of the year.

"I am not aware of the project details, but this delay is not going to help the project. The government should soon finalise its decision," Gopalakrishnan said.

He was speaking to reporters after attending a meeting on infrastructure development in the state, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The Smart City project, whose foundation stone was laid Nov 16, 2007 by Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, has not seen any progress since then.

Smart City Dubai June 1 demanded the government give a "firm assurance" regarding the free-hold rights on 12 percent of the project land, which amounts to 39 acres.

The Dubai-based company's chief executive, Fareed Abdul Rehman, told reporters in Kochi that the firm would pull out of the project if the issue was not settled before Dec 31 this year.

Gopalakrishnan, however, expressed satisfaction with the government's decision to set up IT parks in all district headquarters.

"This would mean world class infrastructure is created and it would be good not only for the IT industry but also for nano-technology and bio-technology," he said.

According to the Infosys chief, new models of infrastructure development are the need of the hour.

"India is behind in use of technology and a lot of catching up has to be done. Both the state and centre should support infrastructure companies that provide all facilities," added Gopalakrishnan.


The SmartCity