Kochi: The detailed project report (DPR) for Kakkanad extension is ready and Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) to submit the same to Center. The metro officials are set to handover the report to Urban Development Ministry to get approval.
The DPR to be submitted today is for the 11-km long Kakkanad extension. The agency is getting ready to start piling for the extension starting from December this year.
State sanctioned is accorded and a Government order is also issued for the same.
Managing director, KMRL, A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish is expecting positive response from the central government. The metro body is geared up to begin piling work for the Kakkanad extension from end of the year. Basic preparatory work to be wrapped up before the approval, this comprises of widening the corridor to 22 meters. Hanish also informs that a social impact assessment study is underway before going ahead with land acquisition.
If the central government gives approval in coming months, the ₹2,310 crore extensions up to Infopark is set to be realised by early 2023.
A possible roadblock -UMTA Act
The unexpected delay in passing the Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA-Kochi) Act by the State Assembly is seen as one of the hiccup in getting necessary approval. Owing to the delay in passing the act, KMRL has to wait to get Centre’s permission for 11.20km long Kakkanad extension.
The revised Metro Rail Policy 2017 states that the constitution of UMTA to ensure seamless integration of different modes of public transport is a pre-requisite. It is based on this, the Centre to accords sanction for new metro projects and extension of existing ones. D. Dhanuraj, chairman of city-based think tank CPPR says that the policy also lays much importance on the feasibility of metro rail – whether there will be ample patronage for hewing out a metro corridor along a definite stretch.
Dhanuraj also adds that there are other mass transit options that can be explored, like the Bus Rapid Corriodr (BRT) or tramway.
Stress on Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
The need to prepare ground work for TOD is of prime significance adds D. Dhanuraj. TODs need to be there for either side of the corridor before work on metro or other mass transit start their operations.
In a media interviews Dhanuraj shares that such corridors ought to be densified. This implies that necessary steps to be taken to ensure more people reside and work or frequently visit the site within 700 meters of the route.
This can only happen if civic agencies and metro bodies work together – to lay footpaths, drainage systems, road infrastructure, adequate power and water supply. Efforts to be made to remove encroachers and streamline haphazard parking, avers Dhanuraj.
MD of Kochi Metro responding to the appeal of Dhanuraj shares that he is hoping UMTA Act will be passed by the Assembly in next session.
Hanish also informs that center is laying emphasis on generating non-ticketing revenue. For this one of the ways is to build township in order to monetise metro corridor. Even offering feeder transport to make sure last mile connectivity to metro commuters, shares Hanish.