Days after PM Manmohan Singh spoke on the importance of infrastructure development to improve the economy, the Union cabinet is set to clear the Rs 5,182-crore Kochi Metro rail project. The fate of the rail project has been hanging in balance since 2009.
The cabinet will consider approving the Metro rail project for the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala on Tuesday. The fully-elevated link, covering 25 km from Alwaye to Petta with 23 stations en route, aims to provide world-class transportation facilities to the fourth-biggest South Indian city after Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. Though the Plan Panel had earlier pitched for creation of the Kochi Metro through the public-private partnership (PPP) model, the most recent proposal favours a 50:50 joint ownership company between the Centre and the Kerala government, in line with the Delhi Metro. The fare is likely to range from Rs 10 to Rs 30.
At a special meeting earlier this month, Singh had asked six ministers with key infrastructure portfolios to speed up pending projects. Due to frequent traffic snarls, Kochi has an average travel speed of just 25 km/hour on major roads.