Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday laid the foundation stone for the Kochi Metro Rail project and said it would facilitate the city's "overall social and economic development".
"Kochi's transport infrastructure is already under severe stress, with the demand for travel having risen steeply in recent years. The Metro would provide this area with a modern mass transport system, not only making it convenient for the residents to commute, but also further facilitating Kochi's overall social and economic development," said Singh.
The Rs.5,180-crore mega project is expected to be completed in three years and former Delhi Metro man E. Sreedharan is the live wire behind this project.
Kochi, thus, becomes the eighth Indian city with a Metro network of 25 km from Alwaye to Petta.
The central government will share about Rs.1,000 crore in the project cost, and the rest of the money will come by way of loans which the state government would avail from funding agencies.
Singh said: "I hope the Kochi Metro Rail Corporation, which is a joint venture company of the central and state governments, will build the Metro efficiently, and will produce a rail network of the highest quality in the quickest possible time."
He also added that his government has decided to support preparation of detailed project reports for Metro Rail projects in all the 19 cities with population of more than two million people. Of these, detailed project reports for 12 cities are ready.