The recent high-level official talks between the Kerala government and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) have once again infused hope for starting the proposed elevated Metro Rail Project for Kochi, which has been hanging fire for the past two years for various reasons.
The enthusiasm of the government and DMRC notwithstanding, numerous bottlenecks plague the project, which was expected to be an answer to the severe traffic congestion in the city, the commercial hub of the state.
The recent review of preliminary work on the project by the secretary in the Union Urban Development ministry, M Ramachandran and assertion of Ernakulam District collector, Dr M Beena, that land acquisition process will continue, despite protests from some businessmen on the project alignment, has again shown that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The project, which would have changed the face of Kochi, ran into trouble right from the beginning as some businessmen protested against the scheduled route of the metro line through the arterial Mahatma Gandhi road.
Ramachandran had then pointed out that a change of alignment was not feasible since it would steeply escalate the cost and further delay the project.
If work on the project had started in 2006, it would have been ready by 2009 at a cost of Rs 2,239 crore.
The DMRC had submitted a detailed project report in July 2005, envisaging a 25.253 km railway line connecting nearby Aluva and Pettah in the first stage and extending it to Tripunithura in the second phase.