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Apparently giving preference to political considerations over eligibility norms, the Centre is all set to clear the Kochi Metro Rail project, which will have three coaches in the first phase and will thus be the smallest metro in the country.The matter is likely to come up in the Union Cabinet meeting on Thursday. Sources in the Union Urban Development Ministry said that last month, the Ministry forwarded the Rs 5,200-crore project connecting Alwaye to Pettah in the district to the Union Cabinet for final approval. The project seems to be moving in urgency despite the fact that it does not meet the basic criteria of serving 20 lakh people, as required by the UD Ministry for any city seeking to have its own metro. The Ministry has been rejecting all other proposals that failed to meet this basic criterion of demographics.But for the Kochi metro project, the Ministry has preferred... Read more...
overlooking the rules that it itself has sworn by. As per 2011 Census, Kochi’s population is somewhere between 10.3 lakh and 10.4 lakh while the Kerala State puts it as 18 lakh, which falls considerably short of the figure requisite for the pitch to go through.In fact, this lacunae had prompted the Railways, Finance Ministry and Planning Commission to question the viability of the project initially as they noted that there were not sufficient passengers to ensure break-even point for the 25 kilometre-long elevated metro railway. Nevertheless, the project was still green signaled by the Public Investment Board (PIB).To ensure that it does not lose face, the Ministry has decided that the Kochi Metro Rail project will only have 3 coaches to begin with. The number of coaches will be increased to six later on. Sources said the project has been proposed to be completed in the next four years if it kickstarts from this year-end. The state and Central governments will own 15% shares while Japan International Cooperation Agency has been approached to finance the 44 per cent of the project cost.It will have 23 stations and one coach will have the capacity to carry 200-250 passengers. In future three more coaches would be added for which the platform will be extended in the beginning itself.