Kochi metro told to come clear on cost escalations

Revision of project cost from ₹5,182 crore to ₹6,218 crore for Aluva-Pettah corridor

Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) must come clear on the revision of project cost from ₹5,182 crore to ₹6,218 crore for the 25-km phase-one Aluva-Pettah corridor, a year after the stretch was commissioned, and the revised estimate of over ₹1,000 crore for the 3-km Pettah-Thripunithura corridor, Thripunithura Rajanagari Union of Residents Associations (TRURA) has said.

The over Rs.1,000-crore increase in project cost for phase one is at odds with the metro agency’s claims that it was able to save ₹350 crore during the execution of the project, and that the saved amount would be used for the Pettah-SN Junction extension. Even worse, there is no assurance of road connectivity for further extension up to the Thripunithura railway station, contrary to the promise that road connectivity would be established from SN Junction, said V.C. Jayendran, convenor of the association.

Applying the same logic, wherein the per km cost for the Thripunithura extension has more than doubled to over ₹300 crore per km, fear is rife that the metro’s 11.20-km Kakkanad extension cannot be realised for, what KMRL says as, ₹1,957 crore. “Members of the public could thus end up paying as much as ₹3,500 crore. All this could escalate the cost of metro phases one [and its A and B extensions to Thripunithura] and two to over ₹10,000 crore. Under this circumstance, an independent agency must probe the steep cost escalation,” said V.P. Prasad, chairman, TRURA.

While choosing not to respond to demands from the association, KMRL sources said they did not see any immediate need for a road beneath the metro’s SN Junction-Thripunithura viaduct, since there is an access road to the Thripunithura terminal station, the same road that leads to the adjacent railway station. Commuters from SN Junction can board the metro from the station located nearby to go to the city, they added.

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