KOCHI METRO- THE WAY FORWARD Kochouseph Chittilappilly
• The Kochi Metro has again run into rough weather. Ever since its conceptualization, controversies have dogged the Metro. Once, the issue was of inviting global tenders. Then, it veered to the role of Sri.E.Sreedharan. Of late, the very question of whether DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) would execute the work is debated. One only hopes that amidst all the controversies, we do not miss the bus. We have been waiting too long.• The Board of Directors of the DMRC is slated to take a decision on 15.11.2012. While so, Smt. Sheila Dixit as well as Sri. Kamal Nath has gone on record stating that the DMRC may take up other work, only if it doesnt affect the functioning of the Metro at Delhi. The DMRC has proven its competency. But is it the only resort? If DMRC is engaged, amidst all the controversies, will its priorities be in order? Im not certain.• The Delhi Metro is now an acclaimed success. The concept of a mass rapid transit for New Delhi was mooted as early as in 1969. In 1984, the Delhi Development Authority also suggested a multi-modal transport system. Nothing took shape till Delhi began to reel under the disproportionate increase in vehicles, traffic congestion and pollution. It was to rectify the problem that the Government of India and the Government of Delhi jointly set up a company called the DMRC on March 5, 1995. The rest is history.
• Necessity is the mother of invention. Adversity always throws open, an opportunity. Voltage fluctuations give birth to a stabilizer. The era of nuclear families cocooned in flats and the dearth of avenues for entertainment give birth to Amusement parks. So was it with the Delhi Metro. A company, with hardly any experience, executed a project, within budget and ahead of schedule; something unheard of in India. And there was a leader, capable of seeing the project through, from conceptualization to execution - Sri. E. Sreedharan. Recently, I attended the NIPM annual convention where I was felicitated by his Excellency Sri. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam . In his speech, the former President referred to an outstanding leader hailing from Kerala over the past decades. We kept on guessing who it was. When the audience failed to name him, his Excellency pronounced the name of Sri. Sreedharan and then, a deafening applause emanated from the audience. It was a proud moment for all of us.• We have a similar opportunity here. We should really cash in on the fact that the services of Sri. Sreedharan, a man with impeccable credentials, are available. Why should he be relegated to an advisory role? Why cant we aim at an infrastructure company floated by the Government of Kerala with Sri. Sreedharan at its helm ? It could either be the KMRL (Kochi Metro Rail Ltd.) itself or another company altogether. Why should we belittle our own capabilities and look around ? The DMRC was also built from scratch. Im convinced that if it could be done at Delhi, it could be done at Kochi, as well. We have wonderful examples like the CIAL (Cochin International Airport Ltd.) right here. The proposed company should be vested with the full responsibility of executing the project. Who knows, it may even turn out to be a profitable, flagship venture, capable of executing similar prestigious projects, in the future. But, it requires vision and a strong will. Mere holding of demonstrations and human chains may not suffice to make the Metro a reality. We may need to think together and act. What do you think ? What are your views? I am eager to know.
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