Metro rail - Revisited
D Dhanuraj
Download as PDF
Print this Page
Send to Email
Post a Comment
 


Media reports say that Planning Commission agreed in principle to sanction metro rail in Kochi while posting the matter to purchase committee to evaluate the financial obligations. Many are apprehensive to conduct the due diligence of the metro project as they fear public backlash on this subject. Same is the case with the political leadership also as many confess privately that they don’t agree with the present alignment of metro rail project. There is a moral hazard as they perceive it as a part of public interest which can affect their standing on the development issues.
 
The larger debate is whether the present alignment of metro rail in Kochi is going to solve any public transport issues. In city like Kochi, where the population is almost stabilised in corporation area as per the latest census figures. Many reports say that the average speed in Cochin city will be 6 km/hour in 2030, so metro is advocated. But it is not clear which part of the city they are citing for this 6km/hour argument. This is a city where the master plan is pending for decades and no one even sure about the growth pattern of the city. It is learnt that the development plans are not focused on M G Road or Banerjee road for that matter. Floor Scale Index (FSI) is low in the state that high raise buildings are not a possibility in the near future. It is not clear whether metro plans are linked with FSI and real estate development so that it becomes a comprehensive town plan. Of course, this can be linked with ridership. It is a city which ponders over floating population figures every time when the traffic and transport issues are discussed. The project plans does not give convincing ridership plans so far. Only number that we have is that Kochi has a population of 6lakhs plus as per the latest census figures and it accounts for 1.6 million when the city is connected to suburbs and mofussils. But we are going to spend around 4300 crores of rupees to get this fancy project. What does it mean? Each kilometre will cost 160 crores. Are we in the right direction understanding the real time issues of sustainable public transport in Kochi?
 
 The present alignment starts from Alwaye to Pettah going via MG Road. A large portion of the metro is running parallel to National Highway where as the other part is along Petta – Vyttila road. It would happen in a way that Thirukochi buses and private buses in these routes are going to compete with the metro ridership. Do we have that much of population coming to MG road every day? How many are going to alight at the stops like Elamkulam and Thykkodam during the off peak hours? What is the feeder system for the commuters from west kochi side including Mattancherry, Fortkochi, Kannamali, Vypeen, Palluruthy etc? the present alignment does not connect to boat jetties or bus stations. Metro station at Vyttila is not within the mobility hub premises but opposite to temple thus commuters have to walk to the Hub to take the respective buses. Why can’t we plan all these if we are so possessive about the metro plans? At Edappally, Lulu Shopping mall is coming up and it is considered to be one of the largest in Kerala. Why can’t we have a station in one of their floors and ask them to fund it? It is surprising why cant we ask private parties to fund each station where jewellers and textile shops are known for its daily trade volume. If they are not willing, market principles tell us that there is some problem with the metro plan. No private party will be ready to burn their fingers.
 
The land use pattern of Kochi is getting transformed. GIS maps show a huge difference in the last thirty years. Interestingly, those areas not connected by these plans. So what are we trying to prove and provide?
 
There are many unanswered questions; No one is against any good project but we should be really concerned about the use of public money worth of Rs 4300 crores for 25 km build up in a small city like Cochin. Don’t we have the logic to address the traffic issues with a small pie since Cochin is a very small city and its problems are also manageable? We are building this metro where there is no money for the corporation and the government to repair the roads. Public is so curious and anxious to know what is going to happen. What is going to be the recurring expenditure for the daily operations of metro? Help public to understand the numbers and figures correct as many are not convinced about this big ticket project

MindTEXT
Advanced Search
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
div
 
   
  1 Comment          
[1]  June 21 2012
A shuttle service for the textile shops at a cost of 5000 crore. Nobody is asking the hard questions may be overawed by the personality of Mr Sreedharan.
Kochi Metro for all their talk on transparency have not uploaded the project report on to their website.
 
--- Sooraj Sasikumar
div  
All Rights Reserved. Copyright © MindTEXT