Aug 27, 2013

Metro board meeting today to probe ways to turbocharge work

The HinduA 200-metre stretch at Kaloor has been barricaded for piling in connection with Kochi Metro. Traffic snarls are common during peak hours because the road has considerably narrowed down. Photo: Vipin Chandran

Kochi Metro Rail Limited’s Director Board meeting at Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday will review the progress of Kochi Metro works and probe ways to speed up piling, land acquisition etc.,.

Twenty-six of the 40 hectares of land required for the project has been acquired so far. Among the reasons for delay in land acquisition is the State government’s lag in issuing administrative sanction.

The DMRC had promised to commission the project by March 2016. But delay in acquiring land and relocating electric posts are a headache for Metro Rail stakeholders. The KWA is yet to relocate/divert pipelines, despite pipelines being stacked up all along SA Road, obstructing vehicles and pedestrians. The objections raised by local residents to transporting mud to fill the coach-repair depot site at Muttom, too is posing problems.

Around two months after work began, a few hiccups such as undue interference from head load and construction worker trade unions delayed the pace of works. The stakeholders have managed to overcome most of the hurdles now.

The Director Board members are expected to take a call on revising the deadlines of different components of the project so that trains can begin plying as per schedule. “They will go through the expenditure incurred so far, the funding required for the next quarter and also review tenders awarded so far,” sources said.

KMRL had recently invited consultants for ensuring the quality and safety of the construction works. The Board meeting will decide the terms of reference. An agency will be shortlisted for preparing a master plan for commercial development of land in Kakkanad to fund the metro.

A review meeting was held here on Monday with senior KMRL and DMRC officials participating in it. The DMRC is learnt to have sought measures to widen South overbridge into a four-lane structure, alongside construction of the metro’s viaduct on the bridge’s northern side. Another demand is to hasten land acquisition so that work on metro stations can begin.

Sources said the State government and the Kochi Corporation must take the initiative to widen the South overbridge. “The other very urgent widening works are that of Thammanam-Pullepady-Padma Junction Road and Vytilla-Pettah Road.”

The DMRC also sought more funds for civil works and speedy handing over of land in the South railway station where railway quarters is located.

The DMRC has demanded cooperation from motorists and pedestrians since it has barricaded a few places along the metro’s Aluva-Pettah alignment for piling, test piling and soil-testing works.

“We have barricaded up to eight metres of the road width at some places to ensure the safety of road users, workers and machinery. Warning sign boards, safety cones, no-parking boards etc too have been installed for the purpose. Due to careless driving by the motorists there are instances of vehicles hitting barricades and causing injuries to workers at the site. Barricades too are getting damaged,” says a press release issued by DMRC.

The agency has appealed to road users to observe speed restrictions while negotiating through metro work sites.

The traffic police have informed that the North overbridge will be out of bounds for vehicles from Tuesday midnight to Wednesday early morning. Motorists must use either A L Jacob or Pullepady overbridge.

Source..The Hindu

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