Sreedharan to associate with Kochi metro only if DMRC is the consultant

Former managing director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and top technocrat E Sreedharan has clarified that he will take the responsibility of Kerala’s prestigious Kochi Metro Rail Project only if DMRC is approved as the consultant.

He added that he would hold discussions with Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Thursday where he expects a final decision on the issue of fixing the consultant.
Putting an end to all doubts as to whether Japanese aid which is crucial for the project would be available if DMRC is selected directly without global tender, Sreedharan said he has already spoken to the funding agency who have given the assurance for a smooth approval of aid “if DMRC is selected as the consultant”.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is expected to fund the project.

Sreedharan’s detailed statement made at a press conference in Kochi on Wednesday is expected to put an end to all controversies regarding Kochi metro.

Controversy

Recently, oppositions from several quarters had engulfed Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL)— a Governement of Kerala aided-company to set up, operate and maintain mass rapid transport system for Kochi, to appoint DMRC as the consultant without a global tender.

According to Kerala power minister Aryadan Muhammad who is also the vice-chairman of KMRL, the director board had considered the option of global tender to select the consultant. KMRL top officials had said that global tender was necessary for getting aid from Japanese funding agency. This statement was vehemently opposed by opposition leader V.S. Achuthanandan who noted that calling for a global tender was aimed at dissociating DMRC from the project and making rooms for corruption.

Sreedharan said he was not interested in making any controversy and had an emotional attachment with Kochi metro project. DMRC was selected for preparing detailed project report in 2004 by the then Left Democratic Front government in Kerala. Currently, DMRC is executing preparatory works in Kochi.

Why DMRC?

Explaining the reasons for his insistence on DMRC from where he recently retired, Sreedharan said metro project is a teamwork and only DMRC has proven competency in this field in India. “KMRL does not have the organisation to implement the project directly and even if I work as its advisor, that wouldn’t be of any use,” said Sreedharan.

“If DMRC is selected as the consultant, work would begin in another three months, and Kochi metro would become operational in the next three years,” Sreedharan said.
On the contrary, selection of a new consultant through a global tender itself would take around 18 months and the project may take a decade to complete, he observed.

Sreedharan said DMRC as the consultant would award works to contractors only through global tenders. DMRC has the necessary infrastructure to supervise all types of works and it would entail a lot of time and money for KMRL to develop such infrastructure, said Sreedharan.

He informed that he has already had talks with the chief minister about all these aspects. “His response was positive. But only state Cabinet is expected to take the formal decision on selection of a consultant. I expect a positive decision soon”, he added.

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