Kochi Metro

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This article is about the elevated metro rail system. For the urban agglomeration, see Kochi metropolitan area.
Kochi Metro
Official Logo of KMRL.jpg
Overview
Native name കൊച്ചി മെട്രോ
Locale Kochi, Kerala, India
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 1
Number of stations 22
Chief executive Elias George, MD
Headquarters 8th Floor, Revenue Tower, Park Avenue, Kochi[1]
Website Kochi Metro
Operation
Operation will start 7 June 2016
Operator(s) Kochi Metro Rail Ltd. (KMRL)
Train length 3 coaches[2]
Headway 5 minutes[2]
Technical
System length 25.612 km (15.915 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge[3]
Electrification Third rail 750V DC[4]
Average speed 34 km/h (21 mph)[2]
Top speed 80 km/h (50 mph)[2]

Kochi Metro (Malayalam: കൊച്ചി മെട്രോ) is an under-construction metro system for the city of Kochi in Kerala, India. The first phase is being set up at an estimated cost of INR5181 crore (US$850 million),[5] and is expected to be completed by 7 June 2016.[6]

Kochi is the first Tier-II city in India to be granted a metro under the Central Government's plan to allow cities having population more than 2 million to have a metro rail system.[7]

Background[edit]

The Route Map of Proposed Phase 1 of Kochi Metro Rail Network.

Rapid urbanization and intense commercial developments in Kochi in the recent past resulted in a steep rise in travel demand, stressing the city's transport infrastructure. Travel demand was expected to rise further due to several proposed mega projects such as Smart City, Info Park, Fashion City and Vellarpadam Container Terminal, strengthening the need for augmenting the transport infrastructure in the Kochi region. In the absence of a mass transport system, there was a steep increase in the number of personalized motor vehicles in Greater Cochin. The number of registered motor vehicles in this area was 68,271 in 1987 and grew to 446,959 in the year 2003. Two wheelers accounted for 64% of these vehicles. This large number of motor vehicles led to a rise in air pollution, increased number of road accidents, and slowing down of average vehicular speeds. Several studies were conducted to improve transport infrastructure in the city. One of the most important was the "Structure Plan" for the central city for the year 2001 prepared by the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA). Other important studies include the Kerala Urban Development Project sponsored by the World Bank, Vypeen Bridges Project by the Goshree Islands Development Authority (GIDA) and Master Plan for Development of Kochi Port by the Kochi Port Trust. RITES also conducted a Comprehensive Study for Transport System for Greater Cochin Area in 2001. With the exception of the RITES study, all the studies recommended projects for improvement to road infrastructure, including provision of ROBs/flyovers. The RITES study recommended provision of a Light Rail Transit System (LRTS) from Aluva to Thripunithura as a long term measure, in addition to short term and medium term measures for improvement to road infrastructure.[8]

Roads in Kochi do not have adequate width and cater to mixed traffic conditions comprising slow and fast moving vehicles. The road transport infrastructure can optimally carry approximately 8,000 persons per hour per direction (phpdt) and no more than 10,000 phpdt. When traffic density increases beyond this level the average speed of vehicles reduces, journey time increases and air pollution rises. Operating bus transport beyond 10,000 phpdt in mixed transport scenario was deemed to be unfeasible on Kochi city roads. Kochi's growing population and future development plans were expected to sharply increase travel demand. Inadequate public transport services would result in commuters shifting to private modes, which was already evident from the high vehicle ownership in the region. This would further aggravate the congestion on the city roads and also increase the pollution level. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) deemed that road-based public transport could not meet increased demand. It recommended the introduction of a light metro system in the city to provide "fast, safe, economic, and environment-friendly mode for mass movement of passengers". The DMRC estimated that the light metro system's carrying capacity of up to 25,000 phpdt, would be "adequate to take care of the traffic problems for Greater Cochin area for the next about 25 years". According to the DMRC, the main advantages of the metro are that it requires one-fifth energy per passenger per kilometre compared to road based systems; it causes no air pollution and less noise; it occupies no road space if underground and only about 2 metres width of the road if elevated; it carries the same amount of traffic as 5 lanes of bus traffic or 12 lanes of private motor cars (either way), if it is a light capacity system; is more reliable, comfortable and safer than road based systems; and reduces journey time by anything between 50% and 75% depending on road conditions.[8]

Planning[edit]

On 22 December 2004, the Government of Kerala asked the DMRC to provide a detailed project report (DPR) for the project, which initially had a projected start date of 2006 and completion date of 2010.[9] The Kerala government hoped the Centre would approve a funding structure similar to that used for the Delhi Metro, but they were turned down.[10] The Union Government supported using public–private partnership (PPP) on the build-operate-transfer model.[11] The LDF wanted it to be in public sector, which was not accepted by the Central Government. The victory of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in the 2011 Kerala legislative assembly elections, changed the scenario in the state[12] and it was decided that the Kochi Metro would follow the Chennai Metro and Delhi Metro models, and would be implemented on a joint venture basis, with investments by the Central and State Government. A Cabinet decision was taken to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) called Kochi Metro Rail Ltd. (KMRL) as per orders from Planning Commission and the Union Government for the implementation, operation and maintenance of the metro project.[13]

The Public Investment Board (PIB) cleared the project on 22 March 2012 subject to final approval by the Union Cabinet.[14] The Union Government's share of the cost would be 20.26%, or INR1002.23 crore (US$160 million).[15] On 28 March 2012, at a KMRL board meeting, the decision was taken to entrust the Kochi Metro rail project work to the DMRC. The number of metro stations on the line was set at 22.[16][17] On 3 July 2012, Union Government gave final clearance to the project. The decision was announced after the cabinet meeting in New Delhi. Addressing media persons, then Managing Director of KMRL, Tom Jose said, "Now we will sit down with our valued partner, DMRC, and chalk out the way forward, obtaining advice and guidance from former DMRC Chief, E Sreedharan. We aim to complete the project within a span of 3 to 4 years." [18]

On 14 August 2012, the state government reconstituted the Board of Directors of KMRL. Power Secretary Elias George was appointed as the new Managing Director, replacing Tom Jose. It is believed that Jose's differences with Sreedharan led to the decision.[19][20] Chief Minister Oommen Chandy stated that it was part of administrative decision. The rest of the board would include the Chief Secretary, Finance Secretary and Water Resources Principal Secretary.[21] The Central Government's nominees are Union Urban Development Secretary as the ex-officio chairman of the KMRL Board, an Officer on Special Duty (Urban Transport), the Director (Works) of the DMRC; the Director (Rolling Stock, Signalling and Electrical) of the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) and the Additional Member (Works) of the Railway Board.[22] On 7 September 2012, the State Cabinet decided to induct the Ernakulam District Collector into the director board of KMRL. The move is expected to expedite land acquirement for the project and also pacify complaints KMRL was sidelining the efforts of the district administration. The first meeting of the reconstituted board was on 11 September 2012.[23]

The 10th meeting of the Board of Directors of the Kochi Metro Rail Limited was held on 22 January 2013 at the Ministry of Urban Development in New Delhi. The meeting was presided over by the Chairman (KMRL) and Secretary of MoUD, Dr.Sudhir Krishna.[24] The Board has decided to seek Expression of Interest for conducting a feasibility study for extension of the Kochi Metro Rail system to Angamaly, Kakkanad and to Mattancherry /Fort Kochi as well as linking Thripunithura and Aluva in a loop.[25] The Board has also decided to invite Expression of Interest (EoI) for conducting a Social Impact Assessment and for preparing a Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R &R) plan for the Kochi Metro project An Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) was conducted for the project by the School of Environmental studies, Cochin University of Science and Technology in 2005 as part of the DPR preparation for Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). While this contains a brief Social Impact Assessment (SIA), it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive SIA on the basis of the present metro corridor; which would form the basis for preparing a comprehensive R & R plan. Consequently KMRL would undertake the selection of a competent consultant/ agency for conducting a comprehensive SIA study and for preparing a consequential R & R plan, which can be readily implemented on the ground. The Board also decided to constitute a subcommittee for negotiate and prepare the draft contractual agreement with DMRC. The composition of the subcommittee is Elias George (Chairman), and members S.K. Lohia, D.D. Pahuja and V.P. Joy. Apart from the main funding for the project, KMRL board also decided to explore options of supplementary funding for specified components of the project.

The Director Board of Kochi Metro Rail Limited entrusted MD, KMRL to find alternate funding options for the project as advised by DEA (Department of Economic Affairs). As part of it, representatives of the French Development Agency (AFD) met the KMRL team as part of their pre-appraisal mission on 18–19 March 2013. The agency had detailed discussions with KMRL MD Elias George and other senior officials. They also visited the project alignment from Aluva to Petta to understand the project better. Mme. Aude Flogny, Regional Director, South Asia & Mr. Gautier Kohler, Project Coordinator India were there in the team.[26][27] Based on the inputs received from the pre-appraisal mission team of AFD, a formal detailed- appraisal mission team visited Kochi from 25–27 April 2013. The team included Senior Transport Expert of AFD, Mr. Xavier Hoang; AFD regional director for South Asia, Aude Flogny and Project Coordinator, Gautier Kohler. The team inspected the project site and held discussions relating to the funding for Kochi Metro Rail project. Kochi Metro Rail Limited is hoping to get a final commitment from the French financial agency AFD - Agence Française de Développement by the end of December 2013. AFD has stated that they could provide a loan of up to 130 million Euros which is around Rs. 10 billion. The next team from AFD is expected to be here in Kochi to evaluate the project during the month of September, 2013.

On 4 April 2013, KMRL's Director Board decided to sign a contractual agreement with the DMRC. The agreement was finalised after over a month-long negotiation.[28] As per the agreement, DMRC will be entrusted with the implementation of the metro project.[29] The 22 proposed stations for the Kochi Metro were approved by the State Cabinet on 19 June 2013.[30]

On 23 May 2013, KMRL and DMRC signed an agreement for execution of the first phase of the Kochi Metro project.[31] The agreement attempts to balance the roles and responsibilities of KMRL as the project owner and the client, as well as of DMRC, the executing agency, while keeping in line with the conditions of sanction of the project by the Union Government. Under the agreement, the DMRC is responsible for execution of the works of the Kochi Metro Rail project as the executing agency. KMRL shall "exercise appropriate financial and technical oversight over the project's execution".[32] KMRL will also recruit and depute up to 30% of the required project execution staff to the DMRC's project execution team, working under the administrative and technical control of DMRC.[33] In case of disputes or issues, a project steering committee with the KMRL managing director and a director each from the 2 agencies would look into the matter. The committee would also review the project progress.[34]

DMRC will have to seek prior concurrence of KMRL, if it wants to significantly deviate from the technical specifications or norms prescribed by KMRL. Independent safety and quality auditors will be appointed by KMRL for ensuring quality and safety in project execution.[35] DMRC will invite tenders on behalf of KMRL and tender documents for works costing more than INR100 million (US$1.6 million) will be finalised by DMRC in consultation with KMRL. Tender acceptance will be done by a tender committee comprising DMRC's and KMRL's nominees.[36][37]

In September 2013, the Kochi Metro was brought under the purview of the Metro Railway Act, 1978 and the Metro Railways Act, 2002. Prior to this the project was being implemented under the Railways Act. KMRL issued a press release stating, "The Ministry of Urban Development, after consultation with the Government of Kerala, has declared that the provisions of the Metro Railway Act, 1978, and the Metro Railways Act, 2002, shall extend to the metropolitan area of Kochi."[38]

The Deutsche Bahn International GmbH, Germany, was awarded the contract for safety and quality audit for Rs 367 million in January 2014.[39] DB International GmbH is a consortium between DB International GmbH, Leap Infraasys Pvt Ltd and SMEC India Pvt Ltd.[40]

Controversy over DMRC's role[edit]

In December 2011, Kerala Minister for Public Works V.K. Ebrahim Kunju announced that the work would be offered by global tender. DMRC MD E. Sreedharan said he would not be interested in participating unless the DMRC was involved.[41] Citing the examples of metros in Bangalore and Chennai, he said, "They decided to take up the work on their own but had to depend on the DMRC for many things. I did not want Kochi to make the same mistake."[42]

On 3 January 2012, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy stated that E. Sreedharan would have final say on the metro project.[43]

Aryadan Mohammed, Minister for Power and Transport and the Vice Chairman of Existing Board of Directors, said that the Kerala Government had decided as early as in March 2010 that Sreedharan would be in charge of the project. "There are no doubts about this. It was the Kerala Cabinet which had taken this decision and there would be no change in it," he said.[44] Aryadam Mohammed said the board would be reconstituted with five nominees from the Centre. Sudhir Krishna, secretary, ministry of urban affairs, would be the chairman of the new board as per the earlier decision by the Union cabinet.[45] The Union Urban Development Ministry later issued a directive to the state government to ensure that no contract is given to any party by the DMRC without approaval of the director board of KMRL.[46]

On 26 September 2012, former KMRL Managing Director Tom Jose, wrote a letter to Union Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna enquiring if the work on the Kochi Metro had the support of current DMRC board and also about the specific role assigned to Sreedharan in the metro project. The letter generated controversyc after it was released to the public by Rajya Sabha MP P. Rajeev. Rajeev wanted to know how Jose, who was no longer involved in the metro project, could write an official letter to Sudhir Krishna.[47] Opposition parties pressed the government to seek an explanation from Jose. Opposition leader V.S. Achuthananadan alleged that Jose had sent the letter with the tacit support of the Congress leadership and the Chief Minister.[48] At a high-level meeting convened by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on 15 October 2012, the State Government reiterated its decision to entrust the Kochi Metro project to the DMRC.[49] Some government ministers and IAS officials alleged that Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) norms do not allow awarding of contract to an agency which did the consultancy for a project.[50] However, DMRC principal adviser E. Sreedharan has stated that the CVC norms would not apply in this case, as the contract is between two government agencies. Another issue for the metro was that DMRC had to obtain permission of its director's board to undertake projects outside Delhi.[51] On 22 October 2012, the Chief Minister said that the Government had not authorized Jose to write the letter and would seek an explanation from Jose on the circumstances leading to his "unprovoked act". He dismissed accusations from opposition parties as "totally baseless".[52] The State Cabinet unilaterally condemned the act of writing the letter, observing that it was counter to the State Government's known position on the matter. At a meeting, held on 22 October 2012, The Hindu reported that Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammed lambasted Jose for his "unprovoked action", which "amounted to gross indiscipline and grave contravention of the code of ethics on the part of the official who was well aware of Sreedharan's role in the Kochi project".[53]

On 29 October 2012, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy met with Minister for Urban Development Kamal Nath and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in New Delhi to discuss DMRC taking up the Kochi Metro project. Kamal Nath informed Oommen Chandy that the DMRC had "limitations" in taking up the project.[54] They also stated that DMRC should not be burdened with external projects in view of its Phase III expansion, despite DMRC officials themselves saying that the Kochi Metro project would not put any additional burden on them, as few officials would actually have to be present at Kochi for setting it up. Besides which, DMRC has done project reports for cities like Chandigarh, Lucknow and Raipur and recently set up a business development division to look after and get new business.[55] However, the Delhi Chief Minister agreed to discuss whether the DMRC could take up the project without affecting the Phase III of the Delhi Metro.[56]

On 8 January 2013, following a high level meeting attended by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, Union Minister K.V. Thomas, DMRC Principal Advisor E. Sreedharan, Union Urban Development Secretary Sudheer Krishna, Chief Secretary Jose Syriac, KMRL MD Elias George, DMRC MD Mangu Singh, Union Minister for Urban Development Kamal Nath officially confirmed that DMRC would undertake the work of Kochi Metro.[57] The decision marked the first time the Central Government allowed the DMRC to go out of the National Capital Territory for the full implementation of a project.[58] DMRC will be responsible for technical consultancy, including detailed drawings, on the project. DMRC will carry out bidding, tendering, procurement and construction. They will get tender documents and DMRC will award all contracts or tenders on behalf of KMRL. The supervision of the project at the site will also be done by DMRC. E. Sreedharan will continue to function as Principal Adviser to the DMRC, stationed in Kerala. His responsibilities will be delegated as determined by the DMRC in consultation with the KMRL.[59] DMRC will assist KMRL in building up its organisational capacity for executing metro works and undertaking operation and maintenance. Any significant technical deviation from the key parameters of the metro, including alignments, layouts, basic drawings, technical specifications or norms prescribed by KMRL shall be effected by DMRC only with prior concurrence of KMRL.[60][61] According to KMRL managing director Elias George, KMRL's priority will be to ensure transparency and accountability in all stages of project execution as well as future maintenance, operation and expansion activities. KMRL will monitor each step of execution undertaken by DMRC.[62]

Support for DMRC[edit]

The Corporation of Cochin and Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany supported handing over work to DMRC. The Mayor launched a campaign promoting DMRC on his Facebook page. The Mayor also launched the website [www.supportkochimetro.in], on 24 October 2012. Chammany had stated that, "Government of Kerala and the Corporation of Cochin along with the people of Kerala unanimously want the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to take up the work of Kochi metro which will be crucial to the growth and development of Cochin City."[63] The Kerala Merchants' Union issued a press release expressed doubts whether the "unholy nexus between officials and politicians" was behind the delay in the commissioning work on the project. The State executive committee of the NH:17-47 Joint Action Council alleged that a BOT-mafia, interested in getting commissions, was behind the move to keep Sreedharan out of the project. The Council also alleged that Tom Jose was behind imposing BOT-toll conditions on many stretches of national highways in Kerala.[64] The Ernakulam district collector and KMRL director board member P.I. Sheik Pareeth also supported DMRC's role saying that the agency can complete the project in a time bound manner. Pareeth stated, "If Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is executing the Kochi Metro project and E. Sreedharan is there to oversee the work, then we will be able to complete the metro project in 3 years. If not, I don't have an answer." Another supporter of the DMRC was president of Better Kochi Response Group, S. Gopakumar. He expressed his support saying, "DMRC, under the stewardship of E. Sreedharan, would be the right choice. While the agency is familiar with Indian circumstances, the Metro Man knows the city".[65] Opposition parties in the state, on several occasions, expressed support for the DMRC and alleged that corruption and delays would occur in the project if it was not handed to DMRC. State secretary of Bharatiya Janata Karshaka Morcha, Balachandran, filed a petition in the Kerala High Court on 6 November 2012, seeking a directive to the Union and State governments to entrust the work of Kochi Metro to the DMRC. Balachandran felt that "lame excuses" were being made to keep the DMRC out of the work on the project.[66] The court allowed the petitioner to withdraw the petition after Advocate General K. P. Dandapani contented that the petition was "politically motivated" and that the allegations raised were premature. The court also asked whether the Government was unable to find any agency, apart from DMRC, to construct the project, pointing out that many other metro rail projects in the country including the one in Chennai were being implemented by agencies other than the DMRC.[67][68] JICA asked the KMRL to ensure the support of DMRC on 1 December 2012. Takeshi Fukayama, head of the JICA fact finding team conducting a preliminary study of the project site, told reporters, "DMRC has an expertise in implementing the project and so, KMRC should take their support in executing the project. KMRC should use the expertise of DMRC for implementing the project."[69][70]

Public support was overwhelmingly in favour of DMRC and Sreedharan. On 27 October 2012, Kochiites formed a 25 km human chain from Aluva to Petta, demanding work be handed over to DMRC. The protest was organized by the City Development Committee.[71][72] Several organisations, including the Kerala Merchants' Union, Vayapari Vyavasayi Samiti, Credai, Graduates Engineers' Association, Ernakulam District Residents Associations' Apex Council, Residents Apex Council, Hotel and Bar Association, Save Kerala Movement, International Media Centre, Fine Arts Society, Ernakulam Public Library, Maharaja's Old Students Association, All India Lawyers' Union, Angamali Merchants Association, AIBEA, BEFI, CITU and AITUC were represented.[73]

Support for Global Tender[edit]

N. Venugopal, chairman of Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) was in favour of a global tender to ensure transparency. Centre for Public Policy Research MD, D. Dhanuraj also favoured a global tender plan as he felt it would "dissolve the controversies surrounding the project". He stated, "Various agencies will get an opportunity to analyse the detailed project report prepared by DMRC. There will be more transparency and clarity. If DMRC is the best metro agency, they can compete with others and take up the responsibility of executing the project. No project should be individual centric or organisation centric. DMRC is not the only agency in the world involved in execution of metro projects and E Sreedharan is not the only expert available. The state should go for a global tender and choose a competent agency." President of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Nishesh Shaw, supported a global tender, saying, "The state wanted DMRC to take up the project. They should have floated a global tender long ago. The government should not step back now and delay the works. Instead it should settle the differences between various agencies amicably. Stalling the event for a temporary period will not resolve the crisis."[65]

Preparatory work and supporting activities[edit]

The DMRC felt that it was necessary to undertake preparatory works to avoid disruptions to commuters during the construction of the Kochi Metro. The agency suggested five preparatory works to the State government, which approved all five projects in March 2010. The preparatory works were intended to be completed before constructing the metro.[74] The works included the widening of 3 arterial roads - Banerji Road from Paramara to Madhava Pharmacy, MG Road from Madhava Pharmacy to Jose Junction,[75][76] and South Railway Station approach road - and the construction of a new rail overbridge (RoB) near KSRTC station and a foot overbridge.[77][78] The A.L. Jacob RoB near the KSRTC stand, commissioned on 12 May 2013, was the first of the five works to be completed. Apart from the five originally proposed projects, some additional projects such as the construction of the Ernakulan North RoB,[74] and the flyover at Edapally were also carried out.

The work was being undertaken by DMRC initially but was later undertaken by KMRL, due to a shortage of qualified personnel with the DMRC.[79] Other projects include construction of a new RoB connecting Mullassery Canal Road and Salim Rajan Road, and the widening of the Town Hall-Madhava Pharmacy Junction stretch, and Jos Junction-South Railway Station road.[80] The DMRC will execute all preparatory works. The State Government had set apart INR 1.58 billion for preliminary works. On 3 March 2012, KMRL handed over INR 150 million to DMRC for undertaking the preparatory works. The DMRC had been given INR 230 million earlier.[81][82][83][84] The DMRC will also build a INR1.35 billion (US$22 million) flyover at Edappally. The State Government will contribute INR950 million (US$16 million) for the flyover and the balance will be met from the project funding for the Kochi Metro.[85]

A.L. Jacob RoB[edit]

A.L. Jacob Railway Over Bridge on Salim Rajan Road

An overbridge on Salim Rajan road was proposed as part of the preparatory works for the Kochi Metro project in order to avoid traffic congestion once construction of the metro began. The DMRC was the implementing agency of the project. Construction of the bridge began in October–November 2011,[86][87][88] and was opened to the public on 12 May 2013.[89] On the same day, Chief Minister Oomen Chandy announced that the bridge would be officially named A.L. Jacob RoB.[90][91][92][93][94] The RoB had earlier been proposed to be named Salim Rajan Overbridge as a tribute, to the two boys who were killed by a goon in the area.[86]

The two-lane 425-metre bridge, including the railway span of 46.80-metre,[95] links Salim Rajan Road, near Gandhinagar, to Rajaji Road near the KSRTC bus stand.[86] The total cost of the project was INR 38-490 million.[86][87][96] The overbridge on Salim Rajan road, located between the South and Pullepady bridges, features a 340-tonne steel girder, 46.80m long and 8.90m wide. The girder does not have a middle span and is the longest one used in any railway overbridge in Kerala.[97][98]

Ernakulam North RoB[edit]

The Ernakulam North rail overbridge (RoB), also known as the North Overbridge, was pulled down and widened to 4-lane as part of metro rail-associated preparatory works,[99] to ease traffic congestion during the construction of the metro rail.[100] The reconstruction of the North Overbridge was part of the initial plans, as the metro alignment was to bypass the existing road overbridge near the Ernakulam Town Railway station, and to proceed beside it. However, this would require the demolition many buildings, at an estimated cost acquisition of about Rs. 650 million. The DMRC proposed rebuilding the bridge with four lanes and integrating the metro structure so that the metro alignment will be in the median of the road over-bridge, to avoid extra land acquisition measures in the area. The proposal was accepted and construction works were launched at a function held in July 2011. The construction was proposed to be carried out in two stages. Work on the first stage got delayed by more than seven months due to the delay in shifting 66 kV cables and water supply pipelines, as well as rehabilitating the vendors and relaying several arterial roads to allow hassle-free traffic diversions during construction of the overbridge.[74][101] The construction of North ROB began on November 2011,[88][102] and the first stage of the work, involving lane-1 and lane-4, was completed in 13 months.[74] Initially, the side rails of the existing two-lane Old North RoB was demolished, and the DMRC constructed the first and the fourth bays of the bridge which was completed by November 2012.[101] The reconstruction project was executed by the DMRC within the stipulated time frame of 14 months. Lanes 1 and 4, which are pathways on both sides of the RoB were opened to traffic on 5 December 2012 following a two-hour trial run on 3 December 2012.[103] The DMRC received praise for constructing the side bays on time, as similar projects undertaken by other agencies in Kochi such as the Edappally RoB and the Pullepady RoB had been delayed by several years.[104]

The bridge was widened to enable 4 lane traffic in the second stage of construction.[100] Dismantling works for the second stage began soon after the completion of the first stage, and were completed in February 2013, followed by piling and other related works.[74] The main bridge, consisting of lanes 2 and 3, was demolished by DMRC. After pulling down the existing motor bay, DMRC constructed two single lane roads in its place. The viaduct passes between these roads. DMRC joined the reconstructed side bays with the newly-laid ones, after completing the works on the roads. The aluminium barricades placed at the interior end of the new side bays were also removed, and utility ducts were constructed at the exterior ends of the double lane stretches. The side pathways are 3.3 metres wide and following the completion of the main bridge, the widened 4-lane RoB has a 2-lane stretch with a width of 7.5 meters on either side of the viaduct. The ground clearance between the viaduct and the RoB is 5.50 meters.[103] The metro rail's pillars will come up over it, at a height of 17m from the railway line beneath the bridge.[105] The length of each metro column at the four-lane bridge is 25 metres.[102] DMRC had planned to complete the entire work of the North RoB, including the construction of the viaduct for the main project and utility ducts along the stretch[106] by 31 October 2013,[107] however, it was completed only in December 2013. DMRC officials blamed the delays on changes in plans regarding the construction of the metro rail viaducts along with the RoB work, frequent downpours on unexpected days, unidentified pipelines and water pipeline bursts at certain locations.[101] The DMRC completed construction of the bridge in 24 months at a total cost of INR 50-600 million. The Ernakulam North RoB was opened for public traffic by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on 29 December 2013.[86][86][87][100] DMRC claims that the construction of the overbridge with a length of 350-metre and carriageway of two lanes (8.15m) for four lane traffic in two stages was like building two new bridges. The agency also claims that the reconstruction was completed without affecting road nor rail traffic for even a single day.[74] All vehicles, except heavy vehicles, are allowed through the bridge.[101] The DMRC plans to use the vacant land under the bridge to provide paid parking facilities for at least 20 vehicles.[108]

Works related to the metro structure on top of the overbridge are expected to be completed by May 2014.[101]

Road widening and resurfacing[edit]

The 450-metre Ernakulam Town Hall-Madhava Pharmacy Junction stretch in Banerjee Road will be widened to a 22 meter wide, 4-lane road by the end of July 2013.[109] The value fixed for a cent of land on Banerji road came to INR3101083 (US$51,000).[75] A total of 56 cents of land had to acquired in the stretch. The viaducts of the proposed metro rail will be set up in the middle of the widened road. The work is estimated to cost INR90 million (US$1.5 million).[109] The widening of the MG Road (9 cents to be acquired) and Jos Junction-Ernakulam Junction railway station road (37.50 cents to be acquired) is expected to be taken up by the DMRC alongside the work on the pillars of the metro. Land owners will be paid INR 5.2 million per cent as compensation for all the three road-widening projects of the metro, not including the cost of buildings that will be pulled down.[110]

The Vyttila – Petta, currently 15 metres wide, will be widened to 26 metres and more wherever space is available and a total of 9.35 hectares will be acquired for this work. The improvement of this road is necessary for the construction of the metro and its widening will be done according to the alignment of the metro rail project.[111] The carriage ways of the widened road should have a width of 7.5 metres on either side, the width of the medians is set at 4 metres, and the footpaths on either side would be 1.4 metres wide. The transport department issued a notification for widening the Vyttila – Petta road on 11 April 2008. The revised DPR prepared by the DMRC also included it in the priority works along with the North RoB. However, protests by the local people and lack of consensus among the various departments, especially the PWD, put it on the backburner. The delays in widening the road affected work on the metro's fourth reach, with contractor Era Infra Engineering unable to start work,[112] until mid-November 2013.[113]

For the purpose of traffic diversion, KMRL resurfaced 21 roads in and around the city. Kerala Construction Corporation did the work with five-year guarantee using BMBC specifications for a cost of INR16.31 crore (US$2.7 million). KMRL also recruited traffic wardens in different part of the city to help police to control traffic.[114] The DMRC will also undertake the widening work of the Aluva - Edappally stretch of National Highway 47 to facilitate four-lane traffic during the metro rail works. According to a National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) spokesperson, "The National Highway will be widened by evacuating encroachments on either side but without acquiring additional land. The road will be widened by around five metres to ensure smooth four-lane traffic even as eight metres of the highway's centre is barricaded for metro viaduct construction"[115]

Flyover at Edappally[edit]

KMRL and the Kerala Public Works Department (PWD) signed an agreement on 22 July 2013, to build an INR1.08 billion (US$18 million) flyover at Edapally[116] to reduce the congestion at the Edappally junction where NH 47 and NH 17 meet.[117] The DMRC was appointed to implement the project. Construction on the flyover was inaugurated by Works Minister V.K. Ebrahim Kunju on 21 November 2013, and is expected to be completed in two years.[86][87] KMRL contributed INR300 million (US$4.9 million) and the Kerala Road Board Fund contributed INR500 million (US$8.2 million), while the rest was paid for by the state government.[116] The state public works department (PWD) will construct two 8.5-metre wide bridges on either side of the existing bridge over Edappally canal. Traffic will be diverted through the two bridges to facilitate work on the flyover. 175 cents (1.75 acres) of land was acquired for the entire project, including the service roads and new bridges on either side of the Edappally canal.[117][118]

The PWD began land levelling works near Edappally bridge in October 2013, as part of preparatory works to be undertaken for construction of the Edappally flyover. The three-month preparatory work includes the construction of two service roads and new bridges on either side of the existing Edappally canal bridge. The service roads on either side of the bridge over Edappally canal on the national highway will have a width of 7.5 meters and length of 25 meters. Larsen and Toubro (L&T), which was also awarded the contract for the metro viaduct between Aluva and Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, was awarded the contract for construction of Edappally flyover as well as preparatory works.[119]

Other works[edit]

Pachalam RoB[edit]

The Southern Railway had sanctioned the Pachalam RoB in 1999-2000, however, it took more than a decade for the state government to take up the project.[120] On 21 February 2014, the Kerala High Court expressed its displeasure over the failure of the Kochi Corporation to finalise the final alignment of the proposed rail over bridge (ROB) at Pachalam submitted by the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation. The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A.M. Shafeeque directed the corporation to place on record the final alignment of the ROB by 2 April 2014. The Bench observed that the civic body had "not moved an inch", after the discussion on the alignment submitted by the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation in 2011.[121]

The Pachalam RoB was approved in-principle by the Kochi Corporation on 10 February 2014. The proposal was approved with a dissent note from 23 councillors, who demanded that Pachalam ROB should be constructed with a width of 22 metres.[122] As per DMRC's plan, the two lanes of ROB will have a total width of 7.5 metres. A footpath with a width of 1.5 metres will be constructed alongside it. The RoB received approval from the State Cabinet on 26 February.[123] The 2-lane, 10-metre wide RoB is estimated to cost INR 520 million, and will be constructed by the DMRC. The DMRC also conducted the survey, and prepared sketches and drawings for the proposed RoB. The Indian Railways will bear 50% of the total cost, excluding the cost of land acquisition.[122] About 52 cents of land will be acquired for the project.[124] The construction of service roads will be confined to one side to bring down land acquisition. The Pachalam ROB will ease traffic movement in Vaduthala, Cheranelloor and Mamangalam regions.[122]

The foundation stone for the project was laid on 4 March,[125] and construction is expected to complete in 6 months.[126]

Shifting Vytilla station[edit]

Based on the guidelines of ministry of Urban Development to integrate various mode of transport, Kochi Metro Rail Limited decided to shift Vyttila station to Vyttila Mobility Hub. The long distance buses operate out of Vyttila hub and the hub authorities are planning to build a new boat jetty there as the part of their second phase of development. Thus, the Kochi metro project became the first metro in the country which connects rail, road and water transportation facilities.[127]

New KSRTC parking lot[edit]

A parking lot at Karakkamuri was provided to KSRTC, when KMRL took over the parking space to carry out preparatory works associated with Kochi metro project. In return for the land used for Salim Rajan RoB KMRL reconstructed the inspection ramp for KSRTC.[128] But, as rains started, the new parking lot became murky with slush and mud and it became difficult for drivers to drive out vehicles resulting in creation of traffic blocks in the city. Following KSRTC's complaint, KMRL handed over the task of relaying the ground to KSCC for a budget of INR55 lakh (US$90,000).[129]

Thevara-Perandoor canal cleaning[edit]

Water logging is a major problem in Kochi, and is the main cause damage to the roads in the city. The uninterrupted flow of water through the canals is the best way to prevent the water logging in the city. To ensure the smooth traffic in the city, KMRL cleaned the Thevara– Perandoor Canal, a major canal of Kochi. The cleaning work contracted to the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) for an amount of INR2.62 crore (US$430,000).[130]

Land Acquisition[edit]

The total amount of land required for the project is 40.409 hectares. The total land required for all stations is 9.3941 hectares, including area required for parking lots. Aluva, Pettah, Kalamassery, Edappally and Kaloor stations will have larger parking areas requiring about 2.7869 hectares of land. The coach depot at Muttom requires 23.605 hectares of land, higher than the originally estimated 17 hectares.[131][132][133][134] Approximately, 4.6 hectares of land will be required for widening curves and stretches where the metro's viaduct is positioned outside the median. Apart from the above, 102.50 cents of land is required for preparatory works, and 94 hectares in Muttom and 20 hectares of land in Kakkanad is to be acquired for developing the land for commercial use.[135] Kerala Conservation of Wetland and Paddy Land Act was relaxed by the State Government in November 2012 to allow reclaiming 19 hectares of paddy fields in Muttom.[136] There are also plans to acquire approximately 230 acres near the yard to set up a "metro village".

The original plan was to acquire about 31.9216 hectares of land in Ernakulam, Elamkulam, Poonithura, Thrikkakara North, Edappally South and Aluva West. Out of this approximately, 17 hectares was for the Muttom coach maintenance depot. The remaining land was required for the construction of metro stations. Approximately, 15 hectares out of the required 31.92 was government owned land. However, the land required for parking at stations, road widening and straightening curves along the alignment were not assessed in the original plan.[137] The addition of parking lots increased the amount of land required by 8.4874 hectares.

The district-level purchase committee fixed the maximum compensation for land acquisition at INR 5.2 million per cent for the land to be acquired for preparatory works. The district administration can take ownership of land only after paying at least 80% of the price. Land acquisition for a foot overbridge near the KSRTC main depot will cost INR 2.8 million per cent and land for the approach road of the Ponnurunni railway overbridge will be acquired at INR 1850,000 per cent. The prices have been approved by the State Empowered Committee.[138][139] The total estimated cost of land acquisition is INR 11.10 billion., higher than the INR 6.72 billion estimated as per the original plan.[140][141]

On 4 March 2013, Ernakulam District Collector P.I. Sheik Pareeth announced that the revenue department had completed the process of acquiring 42 acres at Muttom for setting up a maintenance yard. The price of land was fixed at INR102000 (US$1,700) per cent, which amounts to a total of INR440 million (US$7.2 million) for the entire 42 acres. It was also announced on that the revenue department had completed the land acquisition process for setting up 8 metro stations – Ambattukavu, Muttom, Cusat, Edappally High School, Kaloor, Elamkulam, Thykkodam and Pettah.[142][143][144][145][146] KMRL handed over 2.12 acres of land, between Kaniyampuzha Road and Kunnara canal within the premises of Vyttila Mobility Hub, to the DMRC on 1 August 2013 for construction of the Vytilla station building and viaducts for the metro.[118][147]

KMRL officially took over 4.05 hectares of land owned by Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT) on 23 October 2013, and handed it over to the DMRC for the construction of the casting yard. The land will cost a lease amount of INR3.5 million (US$57,000) per hectare annually as per the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between KMRL and FACT. The land will be used mainly by Soma Constructions, one of the contractors who undertook the construction of metro, for batching plant, stalking yard and pre-casting of girders. The KMRL had already taken 5.03 hectares of HMT land at Kalamassery on a lease amount of INR3150000 (US$52,000) per hectare annually for another temporary casting yard. KMRL also intends to acquire 2.5 hectares of land on lease at Tripunithura and 5 hectares near the High Court for casting yards.[148] The lease amount will increase by 10 (for FACT land) and 6 per cent (for HMT land), annually, and KMRL is expected to spend a total of INR74.2 million (US$1.2 million) for setting up the facility.[149]

Maharaja's College handed over 16.4 cents of land belonging to the College, to the KMRL on 13 December 2013 for the metro project. The land will be used for the construction of the entrance to the Maharaja's College station of the Kochi Metro.[150][151] The Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) handed over 28 cents of land near its head office to the KMRL on 13 February 2014, for constructing the Kadavanthra station. The station will be built on the land which housed GCDA's Nandanam park near the adjacent canal.[152] The remaining 2 cents of land required to construct the station and under the possession of the KSEB, was handed over to the KMRL later.[153]

The Ernakulam South metro station, the metro's Operations' Control Centre (OCC) and other amenities were initially proposed to be built on the southern side of Ernakulam Junction railway station. However, the Railways demanded INR 3 billion for a 35-year lease of 4,360 square metres of land. KMRL officials rejected the offer, as INR 3 billion worked out to about 8% of the metro project's total cost. The Ernakulam South station was instead built behind the Ernakulam Girls' High School, on land owned by the Kochi Corporation, while the OCC was built near the coach maintenance yard in Muttom. KMRL's expenses on the station structure were limited to just around INR 100 million, as a result of the decision to relocate the station.[154]

KRML initially planned to acquire around 90 cents of land from GCDA and St Albert's College near the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, of which 16 cents were to be acquired from GCDA and the remaining from the land in possession of the college. The land would be used for the construction of an operation control centre (OCC), a parking lot and a metro station. However, KMRL shifted the OCC to Muttom reportedly due to opposition from the college management, although KMRL authorities denied the reports. The station and parking lot will be built on around 60 cents of land (16 cents with the GCDA, and the rest with the college) near Nehru stadium. The college will hand over the land with frontage road, while the GCDA will provide an equal size of the land to the college as compensation. Although, the St Albert's College management had violated many of the conditions fixed while government leased out 4.67 acres at Kaloor to the college to use it as its playground, the authorities did not cancel the agreement. Under pressure from politicians, KMRLheld talks with the GCDA to provide alternative land to the college, even though the revenue department had begun revenue recovery procedures against the college management demanding around INR 4.6 million arrears in lease amount.[155]

Addressing a press conference on 7 January 2014, then District Collector P.I. Sheikh Pareeth stated that the district administration had completed the acquisition of 26.40 hectares out of the 40 hectares needed for the project through negotiations with about 2,000 landowners. The Collector stated that acquisition of land for stations at Kaloor, Lissy, and Edappally were remaining and would be completed by the end of the month. A majority of landowners were convinced to part with their land through a mutually agreed price. However, according to the Pareed, the Land Acquisition Act, which permits the government to take over land forcefully for what is regarded as ponnumvila, was invoked in a "couple of cases". The strongest resistance to land acquisition was on the Vyttila-Pettah stretch.[156] Authorities encountered stiff opposition from some religious organizations who had refused to part with their land, but consensus was reached eventually.[157][158] Landowners in Muttom agreed to part with their land for INR 100,000 a cent only after being assured of the benefits of the development there.[156]

At the end of January 2014, KMRL MD Elias George announced that 31.587 hectares of the total 40.409 hectares of land required for the Aluva-Pettah metro viaduct had been acquired. Apart from 40 hectares for the Aluva-Pettah metro viaduct, a total of 1.70 hectares has to be acquired for widening narrow portions on the Aluva-Edappally stretch of NH 47. This is in addition to the 114 hectares needed for constructing metro villages in Muttom near Aluva and in Kakkanad. Another 40 hectares is needed for constructing a coach-maintenance yard at Muttom. Advance possession of land was taken from over 300 land owners. The revised deadline for land acquisition expired in December 2013, and was extended to March 2014. The five preparatory works entrusted with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) — construction of two overbridges and widening of three arterial roads – entails acquiring another 102.50 cents of land.[159][160] Then District Collector M.G. Rajamanikyam announced on 7 March 2014 that around 70% of the land required for the project was in the possession of the Revenue Department. However, he stated that the procedures as part of land acquisition had not been completed, and completion of the procedure for acquisition of the entire land required would take another three months.[161][162]

Land acquisition procedures for the project slowed down considerably, as the district administration was involved in the conduct of Lok Sabha polls. A KMRL official stated, "It seems that all major decisions which will be based on discussions and negotiations with business and religious establishments will be taken after the parliamentary elections." The district administration expects to send the draft declaration for acquiring land "other than the disputed plots" by the end of April 2014.[163]

Construction[edit]

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone for the project on 13 September 2012.[164][165][166] Construction work on the Kochi Metro rail project began on 7 June 2013,[93] with the piling works for the viaducts near Changampuzha Park, after an official launch ceremony held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at 10:30am on the same day.[167][168][169][170] At the inauguration ceremony, the State Government announced that the metro would be extended a kilometre-and-a-half from Pettah to Tripunithura,[171] Work on the first pile of Kochi Metro near Changampuzha Park in Edappally was completed on 9 June, i.e. two days after construction began.[172] Construction work on metro's first station, at Kaloor, began at 10:30am IST on 30 September 2013, when Soma Constructions began piling.[173][174] The next station were piling work was carried out was Aluva.[175]

The contracts for civil works for the construction of viaducts and stations for Kochi Metro were awarded separately for four stretches - Aluva to Kalamassery (Larsen & Toubro), Kalamassery to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Larsen & Toubro), Stadium to Ernakulam South (Soma Constructions) and Ernakulam South to Pettah (Era Infra Engineering).[176][177][178] Larsen and Toubro (L&T) was awarded the contract to construct the viaduct and 6 stations on the Kalamassery-Stadium stretch[179] in April 2013 at an estimated cost of INR4 billion (US$66 million).[180] L&T are expected to secure the contract for the viaduct and stations in the Aluva-Kalamassery stretch as well. The Hindu reported that the company had cited a rate lesser than the DMRC's tender estimate of INR3.53 billion (US$58 million).[181] On 17 June 2013, in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), Era Infra Engineering Ltd (EIEL) stated that it had been awarded a INR3.84 billion (US$63 million) contract, in a joint venture with Chengdu Ranken, by DMRC, for the construction of elevated viaduct and five elevated stations (Kadavanthara, Elamkulam, Vyttila, Thaikoodam and Petta; from Chainage 19329.685 m to 25119.278 m), including architectural finishing and plumbing works of stations, on the Aluva-Petta line[182][183][184][185] Aarvee Associates, Hyderabad, designed a comprehensive rehabilitation and resettlement policy and a compensation package for those whose livelihoods are affected by the project. SENES Consultants Private Limited, Noida, prepared the environment impact assessment for the project.[186][187][188]

During the period of construction, all utilities in the vicinity which are likely to be affected, will be shifted, in consultation with the departments concerned. Trees on the roadside, which infringe the working space, will be cut, after obtaining permission from the Forest Department.[189] The 25-km stretch will be divided into sections of 200 metres each with piling to be in 25-metre gaps. Work in each section is scheduled to take two and a half months. The mud from the pile would be dumped outside the city.[11] However, unlike other sections, construction on MG Road will be completed in a single phase.[190][191] Construction sites will be barricaded for a width of 8 metres (4 metres on either side of the median) and traffic signage boards will also be set up. Excavated earth and debris will be cleared at the same time as the work is carried out to reduce inconvenience to the public. Traffic movement will only be permitted in the space available beyond the barricaded 8 metres from Edappally to Nehru stadium. Barricades will be removed once the work on the piers and pier caps is completed for a stretch of about 200 metres, and shifted to another stretch, which will restoring the complete width of way for traffic. Pier caps and U-girders will be cast at the casting yard and only the erection will be done at the site using cranes, preferably during night, in order to avoid causing a hindrance to traffic. Pile, pile cap and piers will be constructed at the site. Work will be carried out within a span of 4–6 hours, during which traffic will be diverted through alternate routes. Traffic wardens will be posted at required locations to maintain smooth traffic flow, to guide the motorists and assist the traffic police.[189] The cylindrical pillars that support the metro's girders have a diameter of 1.80 metres. Altogether, the pillars occupy 2.10 metres of the road's width, with the additional 30 cm used for building a protection barrier around each pillar.[192] Each pillar, built every 25 metres on the metro route, needs to be supported by four piles. Each 200-metre barricaded stretch will have eight pillars.[172] About 4.5 to 500,000 cubic metres of sand will be required for construction of the metro. It is planned to source the sand from rivers in Kerala, while using imported and/or manufactured sand is another option.[193]

The project will require 477 trees to be cut. DMRC has promised that it will replace every tree it cuts, with 10 trees.[194][195] The tree planting program was launched on 21 June 2013, with KMRL MD Elias George planting the first sapling at the land owned by the HMT near Kalamassery. A total of 500 saplings were planted on launch day, with participation from students studying at schools in the city.[196] However, the saplings planted at the HMT land near Kalamassery, died due to a lack of proper care. KMRL plans to hire another agency to ensure that all the seedlings are properly nurtured.[197] KMRL later decided to revamp parks into green spots, after it found it impractical to plant tree saplings in the city due to lack of space. Instead, the agency decided to form small green spots at various places to compensate for the loss of trees cut to replace the trees cut for the project. Several parks in the city, including Kunnara Park near the Vytilla Hub, Subash Park at Menaka and some small parks in Panampilly Nagar were revamped by KMRL.[198]

According to E. Sreedharan, the DMRC has set internal targets for the construction.[199] It aims to complete the 13 km Aluva-Palarivattom stretch by December 2015, and the remaining 12 km Palarivattom-Pettah stretch by March 2016.[200] The Chief Minister's target for completion of metro work was 1,095 days, however, the Sreedharan set DMRC staff the goal of completing it in 939 days. A countdown timer was set up at the DMRC office located in the GCDA building at the Eastern entrance of the Ernakulam South railway station.[201] Oommen Chandy visited the metro project sites at MG Road, North overbridge, Kaloor, Chengampuzha park, Pulinchoodu and DMRC piling yard at Kalamassery on 26 October 2013 (the 141st day after the commencement of the work), and told reporters that he was "fully satisfied" with the progress of work, and that the target of completing the first phase in 1,095 days would be achieved.[202][203]

The metro's civil works faced some initial delays because of rain, labour issues, etc. but picked up towards end of 2013. By 14 December 2013, L&T completed 500 piles in the Aluva-international stadium reach of Kochi Metro Rail. This is sufficient to build 125 piers (pillars) in the corridor at the rate of four piles per pier, at an average of 40 piers for every km of the metro viaduct. L&T also completed construction of 12 piers in the reach, and thirteen of the fifteen metro piers that pass through the centre of North over bridge too are ready. Pile capping had also begun over many piles as on the same date. Meanwhile, Soma Constructions completed 150 piles in the stadium-Ernakulam South reach, and the Era-Ranken joint venture managed to complete nine piles in the South-Pettah reach. Construction will be carried out quickly until May, when it is expected to slow down again due to monsoon.[204]

Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammed, speaking on the sidelines of the official launch of the "City on Wheels" programme on 14 December 2013, stated that he had asked the DMRC to change the contractor of the metro's fourth reach (Vytilla-Pettah), Era Constructions, over the slow progress of the work. Mohammed stated that the DMRC would make the final call on replacing the contractor.[150] Construction of the South-Pettah stretch was slow partly due to a section of contract workers in metro's threatening strike over non-payment of wages.[204] By the end of December, DMRC officials announced that Era Constructions would be replaced by another contractor for carrying out the work from South to Vyttila, while the rest of the fourth reach, the 3 km stretch from Vyttila to Tripunithura, would not be re-tendered and would be completed by Era. Principal Adviser to DMRC E Sreedharan stated that the DMRC replaced Era after finding out that the company was financially unstable to undertake the work of the full stretch. The New Indian Express quoted a DMRC official as saying, "The work of the Era has been found to be extremely unsatisfactory. They also do not have the financial capacity to go ahead with the contract, especially because Ranken, their Chinese partner, is not aiding them. The DMRC will call for re-tender for the work between South and Vyttila. We have asked Era Constructions to go ahead with the work at Vyttila."[205] The work of the fourth reach was carried out in two parts - the first from Ernakulam South to Vyttila, and the second from Vyttila to Petta.[39] The work on the fourth reach from Ernakulam South to Vytilla was entrusted to Soma Constructions, which was constructing the Pettah-Ernakulam south section, so as to avoid re-tendering and any escalation of costs or delay as a result.[206][207] L&T was given the work in the remaining 1 km stretch to Vytilla. The work was allotted to Soma and L&T at the same amount that was quoted by Era in the bidding.[39] Soma Constructions began preliminary work on the 1.6 km long South overbridge-Elamkulam reach[206][207] on 16 January.[208] The estimated cost of the works from South to Vytilla is INR 1.50 billion.[206]

During construction of the project, DMRC Principal Advisor E Sreedharan expressed concern over the interference of trade unions. He blamed the "passive approach" of the district-level Labour Disputes Redress Committee, headed by the District Collector, for the issue.[209] He was Speaking to reporters after a site visit on 28 January 2014 to study the progress of the work, Sreedharan reprimanded the three-tier committee formed by the state government to resolve labour issues. He deemed the role played by the committees as far from satisfactory, and warned that delays due to land acquisition and labour disputes could delay the project and lead to cost escalation. Sreedharan also expressed concern over the traffic hurdles being caused by the project.[210]

Since the launch of the project 7 June 2013, the Kochi Metro managed about 192 days of work, as opposed to a possible 237 days of work since launch. Labour troubles, public protests at various sites and bad weather prevented work from being carried on 45 days, resulting in a loss of about INR 180 million. The amount lost is based on an estimate made by Sreedharan, who had stated that delay in executing the project would cause a loss of INR 4 million per day. L&T informed the DMRC that it had lost "25-man days" due to labour disputes. Work has frequently been disrupted at the metro's casting yard at HMT-owned land at Kalamassery. Work at the Muttom yard has also been frequently disrupted due to public protests and blockades on vehicles carrying red earth to the construction site, along with heavy rains. Work at the casting yard located at FACT-owned land had also been halted due to disputes. Metro work has also been delayed by land acquisition and shifting utility lines and various technical glitches associated with it.[211] The DMRC criticized undue intervention by regional leaders of trade unions at metro's casting yards stating, "Most workers who owe allegiance to the unions are unskilled, but have to be paid wages equal to or more than that is paid to the skilled work force deployed by contractors.This is affecting the pace of works and the work culture."[212]

Sreedharan told reporters on the sidelines of the foundation stone laying ceremony of Pachalam railway overbridge on 4 March 2014 that the commissioning of the Kochi Metro would be delayed stating, "Owing to delays in land acquisition, the work on Metro rail can only be completed partially within the stipulated time. Road widening and land acquisition on the stretch between Vyttila and Pettah junctions have not been completed yet. This will delay completing the work on that stretch. We will be able to complete the work from Aluva to MG Road in the stipulated time." The statement was in stark contrast to the state government's claims. At a recent review meeting of the traffic coordination committee, the district administration claimed that 78.2% of the land for the project has already been acquired, and KMRL managing director Elias George had stated that 31.587 hectares of land from the total 40.409 hectares of land required for the project had been acquired.[213][214]

The Kochi Metro's first pier cap was launched at the work site near Pulinchodu in Aluva on 21 March 2014. The pier cap that was pre-cast by Larsen and Toubro at the HMT yard was brought to the site by trailer and launched atop a pier during day time.[215] The Metro Rail project’s first 34-meter steel girder was installed over the pier caps above the Ernakulam North RoB on Monday, 19 May 2014 night. The steel girder which weighs around 52 tonnes was installed above the railway portion of the bridge. Rail traffic was suspended for more than an hour to facilitate the work.[216]

The first 'U' shaped concrete girder of the Kochi Metro Rail was successfully installed on Saturday 12 July 2014 early morning.The girder was installed at Pulinchode near Aluva. The ‘U- shaped’ girder was cast at the Metro Casting Yard at Kalamassery. It was transported from the yard around 7 pm on Friday with the help of two huge cranes and special trailers brought from Mumbai.[217]

U girders at Kalamassery

The girder reached the site at midnight, and was installed with the help of cranes having capacities of 350 tonne and 400 tonne.

Extension to Tripunithura[edit]

Following a string of protests and demands by people's representatives, NGOs, apex bodies of residents' associations and other organisations, KMRL decided to extend the metro's terminal from Pettah to Tripunithura in phase one of the project itself.[218] Supporters of the extension claim that the extension will prevent the acquisition of private land, eviction of people, avoid rehabilitation procedures and subsequent delays as Petta was thickly-populated. It would also ensure the economic viability of the metro rail project, and eliminate the need to operate feeder bus services from Petta to Tripunithura.[219] The station is proposed to be constructed on nine acres of unused land owned by the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) on the eastern side of the toll bridge, near SN Junction near Irumpanam.[219] Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES), which was already doing the feasibility study on extending the metro for the project's second phase, was appointed to prepare the feasibility and detailed project report for the extension.[218]

After visiting metro project sites on 26 October 2013, Oommen Chandy announced that the project's extension to other places would be considered only in the next phase, after completing the first phase.[220] However, KMRL managing director Elias George stated two days later that no final decision had been taken regarding the proposed extension and that the project would "most probably" be implemented before the start of the second phase. George stated, "The chief minister's recent statement has been misunderstood. He said no decision has been taken about the extension and this does not mean it would be taken up only in the second phase. Chances are high that the extension project would be taken as project 1-B, i.e., part of the first phase itself but after completion of the work till Pettah."[221]

RITES submitted its preliminary report for the extension of the Kochi Metro to Tripunithura, and for the second phase of the project to KMRL on 17 December 2013.[222] The report identified the route to Tripunithura through SN junction from Petta along the Kochi-Dhanushkodi highway.[223] The extension of the metro via Gandhi Square, which was expected to reach Tripunithura, was deemed unfeasible due to the presence of waterways on the route, and extension of the metro through it would create ecological imbalance.[224] The State government is expected to provide consequential approvals,[223] after RITES submitted its final report in May 2014.[225]

KMRL approved the extension of the metro to Tripunithura in the first phase of the project itself on 27 January 2014, following the 16th Board of Directors' meeting. Speaking to the media after the meeting, Union Urban Development Secretary and KMRL chairman Sudhir Krishna announced that the 2 km extension would cost an additional INR3.23 billion (US$53 million). The extension will be through Pipeline Road from Petta to Tripunithura, and will add two more stations, near Alliance Junction and SN Junction, to the line. The extension up to SN Junction was intended to improve the project's viability, since it was expected to increase passenger patronage. The extension will considerably benefit residents of Kottayam, Thodupuzha, Muvattupuzha and neighbouring towns, who can walk to the metro station from the adjacent railway station or a proposed new bus stand. The Tripunithura station is proposed to be constructed on the northern side of SN Junction, requiring minimal land acquisition.[226] The extension will not be completed along with the Aluva-Pettah stretch, but is expected to be completed within one year after the completion of work on that stretch.[227]

The State Cabinet approved the Tripunithura extension on 5 March 2014, based on the preliminary RITES report. The extension must now receive approvals from the central Public Investment Board and the ministerial-level high-power committee.[228]

Funding[edit]

The original cost of the Kochi Metro project was INR51.82 billion (US$850 million),[229] but this later increased to INR55373 million (US$910 million).[230][231] As per the sanction of the Public Investment Board (PIB), the Central Government will make a contribution of INR10022 million (US$160 million) the Kerala Government a contribution of INR17722 million (US$290 million) and INR21.74 billion (US$360 million) will be raised as loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Taxes on the project will come to about INR2373 million (US$39 million) which will be borne by the Kerala Government along with any escalations.[232][233] JICA has agreed to offer loan at an interest rate of 1.50%.[234] The total estimated cost of land acquisition is INR11.1 billion (US$180 million), higher than the INR6.72 billion (US$110 million) estimated as per the original plan.[140][141][233] The total external borrowing requirement for the metro rail project is nearly INR21.7 billion (US$360 million).[235]

The LDF government, in 2010, made an allotment of INR1.56 billion (US$26 million) for preparatory works of the metro project, including the North ROB reconstruction, new flyover at Salim Rajan Road and the widening of Banerjee Road and MG Road.[235] An amount of INR250 million (US$4.1 million) had been allocated by KM Mani, finance minister of Kerala, in his 2011 budget for the development works of Kochi metro[236] The 2012 Union Budget allocated INR300 million (US$4.9 million) for the Kochi Metro project. It was for the first time the Centre made a major budget allocation for the project. In the 2012 State Budget, finance minister K. M. Mani, allotted INR1.5 billion (US$25 million) for the Kochi Metro project.[235][237] On 26 October 2012, the State Government issued an order adding a surcharge of 5% on petrol and diesel sold in the state over the next 10 years to part finance the proposed Kochi Metro and monorail projects in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. The State Government earns approximately INR50 billion (US$820 million) annually from petrol and diesel sales in Kerala. Based on this figure, the surcharge is expected to earn the government an additional INR2.5 billion (US$41 million) annually.[238] The State Cabinet approved an increase in the state government's financial assistance for the metro project on 4 December 2013. The government had earlier given administrative sanction for INR1587 million (US$26 million), as a budgetary allocation in the annual budget to be spent on land acquisition and other necessities. This amount was revised to INR2425 million (US$40 million) for the project.[235] Construction of the Kochi Metro project was granted tax exemption in the 2014-15 state budget presented in the state Assembly in January 2014, by Finance Minister K.M. Mani.[239]

On 4 November 2013, the KMRL director board approved an offer from Canara Bank to provide it a loan of INR11.7 billion (US$190 million). The loan was for a term of 20 years with a moratorium of seven years and carried an interest of 10.80 per cent floating. This was the first time a nationalised bank funded a metro project for such a long tenure and amount with a low interest rate, and also on sole banking basis.[186][187][188] KMRL signed an agreement with French financial aid agency Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) on 8 February 2014, to provide a INR 15.25 billion ( 180 million) loan for the project. The AFD loan is for a period of 25 years at the rate of 2% interest. The period is composed of a 20-year repayment period and a five-year grace period.[40][240] The Centre and state governments contributed INR7.53 billion (US$120 million) each as equity share for the project.[235]

The Kochi Metro was allocated INR4.62 billion (US$76 million) in the interim 2014 Union Budget, of which 2334 million was given as equity contribution and INR 669.5 million as interest-free subordinate debt while INR 1617.9 million was a loan. This allocation was INR 3321.7 million more than that in the 2013 budget.[241] The line is expected to break even in 2023.[242]

KMRL signed a term loan agreement for Rs 1,170 crore with Canara Bank on 20 July 2014.[243] This is the largest loan offered by Canara Bank, which is Kerala’s lead bank, to a single entity in the State. The Metro authority said that Canara Bank has taken this project as a special case with their request of interest reduction and provided relaxations on their conditions. The Canara Bank chairman and managing director R K Dubey assured support to various infrastructure projects undertaken by the state government including “Kannur Airport and other projects being implemented in Thiruvananthapuram and elsewhere in the state”.[244]

Network[edit]

Kochi Metro
Aluva
Pulinchodu
Companypady
Ambattkavu
Muttom
North Kalamassery
CUSAT
Pathadippalam
Edappally Junction
Changampuzha Park
Palarivattom
Nehru Stadium
Kaloor
Lissie
M G Road
Maharajas College
Ernakulam Junction
Kadavanthra
Elamkulam
Vyttila Mobility Hub
Thykoodam
Pettah
Alliance Junction
SN Junction

KMRL has proposed an elevated route spanning 25.253 km (15.691 mi) from Aluva to Petta with 23 stations.[245] All platforms will be 70 metres (230 ft) long.[2] There will be 17 sharp curves along the route; the sharpest curve will have a radius of 120 metres (390 ft).[246]

# Station name[247] Chainage (km) Distance from previous station (km) Platform type Alignment description[8]
English Malayalam
1 Aluva ആലുവ -0.090 0 Side On 1000 metres curve
2 Pulinchodu പുളിഞ്ചോട് 1.814 1.904 Side Curved
3 Companypady കമ്പനിപ്പടി 2.756 0.942 Side Straight
4 Ambattukavu അമ്പാട്ടുകാവ് 3.764 1.008 Side Straight
5 Muttom മുട്ടം 4.723 0.959 Side & Island Straight Curved
6 Kalamassery കളമശ്ശേരി 8.144 Side Straight
7 Cochin University കൊച്ചിൻ യൂണിവേഴ്‌സിറ്റി Unknown Side Straight
8 Pathadipalam പത്തടിപ്പാലം 9.146 Side Straight
9 Edappally ഇടപ്പള്ളി 12.023 Side Straight
10 Changampuzha Park ചങ്ങമ്പുഴപാർക്ക് Unknown Side Straight
11 Palarivatom പാലാരിവട്ടം 13.071 Side Straight
12 JLN Stadium ജെ എൽ എൻ സ്റ്റേഡിയം 14.126 1.055 Side Straight
13 Kaloor കലൂർ 15.221 1.095 Side Straight
14 Lissie ലിസ്സി 15.711 0.490 Side Straight
15 M.G. Road എം ജി റോഡ്‌ Unknown Side Straight
16 Maharaja's College മഹാരാജാസ് കോളേജ് 16.899 Side Straight
17 Ernakulam South എറണാകുളം സൌത്ത് 19.332 1.229 Side Straight
18 Kadavanthra കടവന്ത്ര Unknown Side Straight
19 Elamkulam എളംകുളം 21.341 Side Straight
20 Vyttila വൈറ്റില 22.447 1.106 Side Straight
21 Thaikoodam തൈക്കൂടം 23.703 1.256 Side Straight
22 Petta പേട്ട 24.822 1.119 Side Straight
23 Tripunithura Side Straight

Future Expansion[edit]

On 5 July 2013, KMRL appointed Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) to conduct feasibility study to extend the metro west Kochi, Kakkanad and Angamaly via the Cochin International Airport in the second phase.[248] RITES submitted its preliminary report for the extension of the Kochi Metro to Tripunithura, and for the second phase of the project to KMRL on 17 December 2013.[222] The report proposed expanding the metro up to Angamaly through the Cochin International Airport, and from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kaloor to Kakkanad as well as to West Kochi in the second and subsequent phases. Subsequent extensions from SN junction to other parts of Tripunithura may also be undertaken in the second phase of the project.[223]

Monorail[edit]

KMRL has plans to build a monorail system to serve as the feeder line that brings passengers in and takes them out of the Kochi Metro network. The proposed monorail will loop Kalamassery-Kakkanad-Infopark-Palarivattom route and Athani to Cochin International Airport. There is also another proposal to introduce a monorail linking Vyttila and west Kochi.[249]

Route description[edit]

metro map

The corridor's northern terminal is located in Aluva at chainage Km -0.090. The alignment up to chainage 1.200 is beside a service road. The southern approach of the Aluva metro station is on a curve near several commercial shops housed in multi-storey buildings. The entry was planned so as to provide easy access for passengers from the Rajiv Gandhi Bus Terminal located on NH-47. Passengers coming from the eastern side of the station, where the KSRTC bus stand and railway station are located, will have to use existing 325-metre long connecting road. This alignment from Km 1.200 to Km 10.850 follows NH-47. The alignment was located on the median of the road in order to minimize land acquisition. However, this stretch deviates from the median thrice - from chainage Km. 4.400 to Km.4.900 at Muttom station, from chainage Km. 5650 to Km.5850 due to a newly constructed road bridge, and from chainage Km. 6.850 to Km.7.350 due to an existing road-over-bridge. The alignment was diverted to cross the existing railway tracks parallel to the road-over-bridge at chainage Km. 6.7. In order to follow NH-47's alignment, 18 curves of radii ranging from 402 m to 12,000 m were introduced. Seven metro stations namely Pulinchodu (chainage Km 1.814), Companypady (Km 2.756), Ambattukavu (Km 3.764), Muttom (Km 4.723), Kalamassery (Km 8.144), Cochin University and Pathadipalam (Km 9.146) are located on the stretch. The rolling stock depot is located at Muttom on the eastern side of the metro line. The depot is connected to the mainline at chainage Km 4.600. The connection is elevated until it crosses the Chennai – Thiruvananthapuram railway line, after which it ramps down to ground level in order to reach the depot. Several schools and institutions like Cochin University of Science & Technology and several major industrial establishments such as Apollo Tyres, Premier Tyres and HMT are located along this stretch.

The alignment from chainage Km 10.850 to chainage Km 16.600 runs on the median of Banerji Road up to Madhav Pharmacy Junction. The metro line passes over a road-over-bridge at Km 15.900. There are many high rise buildings and a several hospitals located on either side of the road, and the area is very congested. Five metro stations, i.e. Edapally (chainage Km 12.023), Palarivattom (Km 13.071), JLN Stadium (Km 14.126), Kaloor (Km 15.221) and Lissi (Km 15.711) are located on this stretch. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium also lies on this stretch, and has a metro station seving it. The Kaloor Bus Stand, used by city buses and buses coming from suburban areas, is located on this stretch. Other main commercial areas are Palarivattum, Kaloor, and Kacheripadi. The Ernakulam North railway station, also located on this stretch, is served by the Lissie metro station. The alignment takes sharp curve of 92.050 radius followed by another curve of radius 107.050 to reach the median of M.G. Road at chainage Km 16.800. This sharp curvature was necessary to minimize land acquisition. Two metro Stations, namely Madhav Pharmacy (chainage Km 16.899) and Maharaja's College (Km 18.103) are located in this stretch. In addition to having several high rise buildings, the Cochin Corporation Office, colleges like Maharaja's College, Women's College, Law College, as well as the Boat Jetty and a KSRTC Bus Stand are located on this stretch. The alignment from Chainage Km 18.650 to Chainage Km 19.100 turns from M.G. Road to South Railway Station Road. South Railway Station Road is highly congested, 2-lane road, with several commercial establishments and high-rise buildings located on it.

The alignment takes another sharp curve from chainage Km 19.100 to move towards Railway quarters approach road, and then crosses the railway tracks near the Route Relay Cabin of the Ernakulam Junction Railway Station. At chainage Km 19.600, the metro line turns towards S.A Road and runs partially over the approach of south over-bridge. Ernakulam South Metro Station (chainage Km 19.332) is located opposite to platform No. 1 of the Ernakulam Junction railway station, facilitating passenger inter-change between the metro and trains operated by the Indian Railways. The alignment from chainage Km 19.600 to chainage Km 22.450 is mainly straight and runs on the median of S.A Road. Two major Stations, i.e. Kadavanthra and Elamkulam (chainage Km 21.341) are located on this stretch. The GCDA Office, Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium, several hospitals, the office of Malayala Manorama, and a Central School are located on this stretch, which also provides access to a number of residential complexes like Panampally Nagar, Gandhi Nagar and Giri Nagar Colony. There are 3 metro stations on the alignment from chainage Km 22.450 to chainage Km 25.612, i.e. Vytilla (chainage Km 22.447), Thaikoodam (Km 23.703) and Petta (Km 24.822). The stretch serves mainly residential areas.[8]

Infrastructure[edit]

Rolling stock[edit]

Coaches will have a height of 3.90 metres (12.8 ft). The overall length of a 3-coach train has been fixed at 65 metres (213 ft). The three coaches will fit within this specification.[250] Each coach will have three wide doors, with automatic door closing and opening.[251] The platforms at each station will be 70 metres (230 ft) long,[250] and will have half platform screen doors.[251] A total of 22 trains will be inducted for the first phase of operations of the metro.[252] The axle load is 15 t (15 long tons; 17 short tons) for which the structures are to be designed. The capacity of each train is 975 passengers.[251] Kochi Metro will use communications-based train control (CBTC), which utilises the communication between the train and equipment on the track for managing traffic, as its railway signalling system. The technology helps identify the exact position of a train more accurately than traditional methods which depend on signal systems. This will help reduce the length and other dimensions of coaches, and as a result, trains will be able to travel faster at steep curves. This will help increase the frequency of trains, enabling them to pass in each direction every 90 seconds.[253] Each 65 m long, 3 coach train is composed up of two driving motor vehicles and an unpowered intermediate trailer. A single train can accommodate up to 975 passengers, 140 of them seated (based on a maximum occupancy of 8 standing passengers per square metre).[4] All trains are capable of moving without a driver at a later stage, after a few systems are upgraded.[251]

It was initially proposed to use maglev trains from South Korea for Kochi Metro.[254] It was later decided that Kochi Metro will run on standard gauge, with 3 coaches initially in each train, which can be extended to six coaches in future.[255] The width of each coach was fixed at 2.70 metres (8 ft 10 in) in the DMRC's original DPR. However, KMRL wanted the metro to be as a medium metro corridor, as opposed to a light one, and the width was increased to 2.90 metres (9 ft 6 in), taking into account the expected increase in demand for the metro from commuters.[256] KMRL clarified on 15 October 2013, that it did not change the coach width from 2.70 to 2.90 metres unilaterally. Instead, based on the recommendation in the original DPR, a condition was incorporated in the Centre's sanction order that the coach width should either be 2.88 metres (9 ft 5 in) or 3.20 metres (10.5 ft), for enabling higher passenger carrying capacity. It was stipulated that one of these two options would be finalized after technical analysis. On the basis of this sanction condition, the KMRL Director Board's technical sub-committee fixed the coach width limit should at 2.90 m.[257] Some domestic coach manufacturers including Siemens and Alstom opposed the condition to fix the coach width, alleging that such a norm would reduce the scope of competition. The decision to fix the coach width as 2.9 metres snowballed into a controversy after some coach manufacturers objected to the norm and filed complaints with the DMRC, KMRL and the Union Urban Development Ministry. KMRL later decided at a board meeting to float the bids with the condition that 2.9 meters will be the maximum outer limit that KMRL had proposed. Some domestic coach manufacturers alleged that the "conditions mentioned in the tender on civil constriction and platform width neutralized the new norms, it made no difference for almost all the other competing Indian firms to participate in the bidding process."[258]

The DMRC floated a global tender in July 2013 to design, manufacture, supply, test, commission and train drivers of 75 standard gauge metro coaches. Hyundai-Rotem/BMEL-India and Band Changchun Railway Vehicle Co Ltd[259] were the only bidders, when the bids were opened in December 2013. Hyundai-Rotem supplies coaches for the Delhi and Hyderabad metros, while Changchun was a newcomer. The Chinese firm did not qualify, leaving only the Hyundai consortium in contention. However, KMRL sought a re-tender after a couple of firms complained that they were unable to participate in the bidding due to the "rigid" technical specifications of DMRC.[260] The INR 7.50 billion contract was re-tendered on 10 March 2014,[261] and the coach width requirement was relaxed from the earlier 2.9 metres to "up to 2.9-metre width", in order to ensure global competition.[251] The DMRC opposed the re-tender stating that it might delay the metro's opening, by up to a year or more. It also argued that coaches supplied by Hyundai Rotem were already in use on the Delhi Metro, as well as a few other metros.[262] The remaining stipulations such as track width and platform specification remained the same. The rolling stock must be able to attain speed of up to 90 km per hour.[251] The re-tender will delay the project by four months, although the metro stakeholders intend to complete civil works, track-laying and allied systems by the original deadline. According to metro officials, "The delay will impact integrated trial of coaches in Aluva-Palarivattom route, initially scheduled from August 2015. With retendering process on, the proposed integration of coaches with tracks, third traction (sourcing power from third rail) and signal systems can be done only by 2015-end or early 2016."[263]

The DMRC held a pre-bid meeting in New Delhi on 2 April 2014 to allow interested firms to seek clarifications regarding the design, manufacture, supply, testing and commissioning of coaches.[264] At least 12 firms such as Alstom and Hyundai-Rotem participated in the meeting. The last date for submission of the tenders was 5 May. The tender documents cost a non-refundable fee of INR262,500.[265] The tender meeting is scheduled to be held on 5 May, followed by a technical bid and finally a financial bid.[266]

Tracks[edit]

The Kochi Metro uses standard gauge (1435mm) tracks. The metro line is fully elevated.The viaduct structure is a U-shaped pre-stressed concrete deck, carrying two tracks supported on single pier located on the median of the road. The width of the deck is 9 metres and the piers are elliptical of 1.2 x 1.85 metres size. A road clearance of 5.5 metres was provided below the viaduct structure. The foundation was pile foundation at most locations, but open foundations were used at certain isolated locations. The superstructure was pre-cast segmental construction in order to minimize inconvenience to road traffic.[8] The Kerala Lalithakala Akademi had proposed converting the approximately 1200 metro pillars[267] of the metro rail system into canvasses for artists, highlighting the history and cultural heritage of the State. This proposal was rejected by the KMRL on account of the possible danger of traffic distractions to drivers along the roads below the metro viaduct.[268][269]

The track on the metro system is subjected to intensive usage with very little time for day-to-day maintenance. The track is ballasted type for at-grade sections and at the Muttom car depot (except inside the workshops, inspection lines and washing plant lines, where the track is ballastless type). The tracks on the viaducts (elevated sections) are ballastless type with continuous welded head-hardened rails. An approach slab of 6 to 8 m length is provided at the junction of viaduct and earth formation to allow for smooth transition from ballastless to ballasted track. The rail section used is UIC-54 (54 kg./m). Since sharp curves and gradients are present on the main line, the grade of rail on main lines is 1080 Head Hardened as per IRS-T-12-96, whereas on lines in the car depot, the grade of rails is 880. Head hardened rails were imported as they were not manufactured in India. Plinth type ballastless track structure, having RCC derailment guards integrated with the plinths, were used on the viaducts. Vossloh-336 Fastenings System were used on the ballastless track structure, with a base-plate to base-plate spacing of 65 cm on viaducts. Most of the components of Vossloh-336 fastening system were indigenously available.

The ballastless track in car depot is of three types - discretely supported on concrete/steel pedestal for inspection lines, embedded rail type inside the workshop or plinth type for washing plant line. The depot has a 250 mm ballast cushion below the PSC Sleepers. Sleeper density is 1540 nos. per km (sleeper spacing being 65 cm). Fastenings system on ballasted track in the depot is the same as the one prevalent on Indian Railways, i.e. ERC Mark III clips with GR Sole plates and GFN liners. The complete track is jointless and even the turnouts are incorporated in Long Welded Rail (LWR)/Continuous Welded Rail (CWR), for maintainability, riding comfort and also to contain vibrations and noise levels. For continuing LWR/CWR on viaducts, the elevated structures were adequately designed for the additional longitudinal forces likely to be transmitted as a result of rail-structure interaction. Rail Expansion Joints (REJ) were provided at locations determined by a rail structure interaction study. REJ in ballasted track is for a maximum gap of 120 mm, whereas on ballastless track for a maximum gap of 180 mm.

Tack is laid with 1 in 20 canted rails and the wheel profile of the rolling stock is compatible with the rail cant and rail profile. The turnouts laid are also with 1 in 20 cant for maintainability and riding comfort. Two types of turnouts are used on the system. On main lines, 1 in 9 type turnout with a lead radius of 300 metres and permissible speed on divergent track as 40 km/h; and on depot lines, 1 in 7 type turnout with a lead radius of 140 metres and permissible speed on divergent track as 25 km/h. On main lines and depot lines, friction buffer stops with mechanical impact absorption (non-hydraulic type) are provided. In elevated portion, the spans on which the friction buffer stops are to be installed, are designed for an additional longitudinal force of 85 T, which is likely to be transmitted in case of rolling stock impacting the friction buffer stops. The Flash Butt welding technique was used for welding of rails. Alumino-Thermic Welding was done only for those joints which could not be welded by Flash Butt welding technique, such as destressing points and approach welds of switches & crossings. A Flash Butt Welding Plant was deployed to minimize the population of Thermit welds mobile (rail-cum-road). The track structure is intended to be long lasting, require minimum or no maintenance and at the same time, ensure high level of safety, reliability and comfort, with minimum noise and vibrations.[8]

Power[edit]

KMRL will acquire 20MW of electricity annually, to operate the metro. The electricity will by supplied from the Kaloor substation of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).[270] The DMRC was in favour of supplying power through 25 KV overhead power lines. This was opposed by the KMRL who preferred to source power from the third rail laid alongside metro track. It was decided to supply power via the 750 V DC third rail.[271] This will marginally escalate the project cost but will lower maintenance expenses.[272]

Parking[edit]

KMRL assigned Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) to conduct a feasibility study on incorporating parking spaces on the metro rail corridor. The study was focused in understanding the ridership of all 22 stations including two terminal stations and assessing the possible number of two and four wheelers, which would require parking in the Aluva- Pettah Metro Rail corridor. As part of the study the School of Management Studies (SMS) also prepared the layout for parking with traffic circulation plan for each station. The SMS submitted the report on 10 August 2012.[273] preliminary report was submitted in June 2012. CUSAT was given the task, as the report submitted by DMRC did not have specifications regarding the parking facilities.[274] The DMRC's DPR mentioned parking lots only at the 2 terminal stations - Aluva and Pettah.[275] CUSAT's detailed study was submitted on 10 August 2012. The study proposed parking lots adjacent to all stations with some having multi-level parking. In some stations, parking facilities will be located away from the station due to lack of available land. In such cases, exclusive pedestrian-friendly walkways linking parking areas with stations will be built.[276] KMRL will consider introducing shuttle services between parking lots and stations if the distance is long. SMS will work out the requirement of land that has to be acquired for this. KMRL says parking facilities will prevent traffic congestion and integrate personal transport system with mass rapid transit systems.[277]

It is expected that less than 10 of the 22 stations proposed will have parking lots alongside due to the prohibitive cost of land acquisition. Only prominent stations located near junctions will have parking lots, some of which may be multi-tier lots to reduce the amount of land to be acquired for the metro. The terminal stations will have major parking lots attached.[275] The decision was made in the final report on stations and their alignment, submitted on 14 November 2012. The final assessment was made following a field visit to all the project sites by a team of officials including Collector P.I. Sheik Pareeth, KMRL MD Elias George and DMRC project director P. Sriram.[278]

Stations[edit]

Design[edit]

The interiors of the Kochi Metro stations will be decorated with references to Kerala culture and tradition. However, the traditional nālukettu style was not feasible, meaning that the structural design is not in a typical Kerala style.[279] According to a KMRL official, "It [stations] will be designed in such a way that it reflects the Kerala style of architecture with each of the 22 stations reflecting a regional theme. ... the stations will reflect an independent adaptation of the state's culture to give it a distinct look".[280] Each station is intended to showcase the state's culture, offering detailed information on selected themes which would be of use to tourists. KMRL officials stated, "Our effort is to highlight the uniqueness of the state, especially to outsiders, but the station buildings won't be an exact replica of the Kerala model of architecture. The station designs are contemporary, but inspired by socio-cultural themes. The kettuvalam or houseboat, for example, widely used in the backwaters of the state, will be the theme of one of the stations, bearing descriptions of how it is made with a model exhibited alongside."[281] It is expected that windows will use traditional wooden frames, and that murals based on Kochi-based themes (such as the poetry of Changampuzha Krishna Pillai and iconic Chinese nets) will adorn the walls of stations.[279]

Egis India, the detailed design consultants of the metro project, is responsible for the structural design of the stations such as floors and doors, and the Indian Institute of Architecture (Kochi Chapter) developed the designs of roof and the interior of the stations.[282] The IIA designed the 22 stations considering factors like the local climatic conditions and cultural history.[283] The basic concept of all the 22 stations in the first phase was submitted by the IIA-Kochi Chapter on 4 December 2013. The IIA is expected to begin working on the final design of the stations by the end of January 2014, after incorporating changes suggested by KMRL such as the position of the ticket counters.[281] The stations are planned to be multi-storey under a single roof, and use special Italian construction material, to reduce the noise of trains to the minimum. All 22 metro stations will be powered by solar energy, and will also allow for rain-water harvesting.[283] Solar panels will be fitted on metro trains, and design plans for the stations include the use of natural light and air and low dependence on artificial air-conditioning.[284] The stations are based on the green concept and designed to utilise maximum natural light and wind.[281] The IIA presented the designs of 14 stations to the KMRL on 14–15 March 2014. The designs of the stations incorporated the socio-cultural aspects of Kerala and included the features such of houseboats, palm (coconut) leaves, waves, Kasavu Saree and Kathakali.[285]

The Kerala Fire and Rescue Service Department in its report on the safety measures required for the Kochi Metro stated, "We recommend four pumps in each corner of the metro stations for pumping fire extinguishing hydrogenates in case of fire. Besides, there must be sprinklers and other safety equipment for emergency situations. There should be two elevators for people to enter the metro station from either sides. The electrical equipment should be made of flame-retardant wires. The main circuit room in each station should be fitted with carbon dioxide or nitrogen chemical which can resist fire. Inside the train there would be only fire extinguishing cylinders which can be used in case of fire mishaps. All safety measures should be taken when electric cables are laid." Fire and Rescue Service Department also stated that Kochi Metro would be safer than the Delhi Metro. An official stated, "The Delhi Metro operates underground where chances of fire are higher. Since the Kochi Metro would be operated on an elevated structure and through open air, chances of fire accidents are less. The department has recommended more fire safety measures for the stations. However, the major concern is crowd management at the stations. Even though the Kochi Metro train would be shorter than its Delhi counterpart, the stations must be of the same size to accommodate more people." The Department monitored each phase of metro's construction, and it can become operational only after receiving clearance from the Department.[286]

Platform screen doors[edit]

All stations will have Platform screen doors (PSD) aimed at preventing accidents and suicide attempts. Metro officials stated that provisions for PSDs had already been included in the tenders floated, and that they would be modeled after the Dubai Metro. Additional railings will also be installed at major metro stations on a priority basis to facilitate crowd control, besides which, front line staff and security guards will be posted to prevent untoward incidents.[287]

Handicapped Facilities[edit]

All stations will be disabled-friendly with facilities like elevators, escalators, ramps, lifts, and engraved paths for visually challenged persons. Tactile tiles will be provided at all stations to enable the visually impaired to travel from the entrance to the platform without assistance.[288] Adaptation of toilets for wheelchair users, Braille symbols and auditory signals in elevators, and warning signals at appropriate places are other disabled-friendly features available at stations. For hearing impaired commuters, directional, information and signage will be provided at the stations. Dynamic display giving travel information will be provided in coaches.

Wheelchair bound commuters will be provided with separate parking facilities at the entrance. Lifts will be provided with a mirror at the rear wall to help them see the commuters waiting outside. Inside the metro coach, handrails will be provided at suitable height and designated space will be provided for commuters in wheelchairs. Platforms will be sloped at the edges to facilitate the smooth movement of wheelchairs. Separate paths will be provided for entrance to the coach. Apart from this, KMRL also intends to provide reservations for the physically challenged, visually impaired, people with hearing impairment and senior citizens.[289]

Digital Document Filing System[edit]

The KMRL uses the Digital Document Filing System (DDFS), developed by Technopark-based Ospyn Technologies, to digitize, streamline and automate Kochi Metro's file processing and office documents management, resulting in a paperless office. The system was implemented in partnership with the Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation (Keltron), and achieved a 200 to 400% increase in processing speed and overall efficiency management. The web-based application enables monitoring and approvals even when the delegated authorities are out of office. It also gives official an overview of the complete lifecycle of a document. Officials can view the status of a document, at which desk it is placed on, or whether it is available for retrieval at any given time.[290]

Operations[edit]

Fare[edit]

Tickets are expected to be priced between INR 15 and INR 30. An automatic fare collection system using a combination of smart cards and computerised tickets will be implemented.[251]

Speed[edit]

The average speed will be 34 km/h (21 mph), as stations are located at a distance of roughly a kilometre from each other.[251] The operational speed limit is fixed at 80 km/h (50 mph) and the design speed limit is 90 km/h (56 mph).[37] The Aluva-Pettah journey is expected to be covered in 45 minutes.[251]

Name[edit]

It was initially reported in the Indian media that the Kochi Metro would be officially named Komet (a short form of the name Kochi Metro). The name was reportedly accepted by KMRL's first MD, Tom Jose, and the logo was designed based on that name. However, it was alleged that Jose had made the decision unilaterally without reaching a consensus.[291] On 22 June 2013, The New Indian Express reported that Livespace, a company hired to produce an animated demo video for the metro, had been told by KMRL officials to remove the name Komet that was used in the video and instead use the name Kochi Metro.[292] However, The Hindu reported the next day that a formal decision had not been taken regarding the name.[291]

Boat service[edit]

A boat service from Vyttila to Kakkanad, operated by the Kerala State Water Transport Department (KSWTD) was launched on 19 November 2013.[293] It is the first metro feeder service, and was proposed by the special transit–oriented development committee constituted to develop feeder services for the Kochi Metro. It is integrated with the metro, and was used for diverting traffic during construction of the metro. The boats were manufactured at Steel Industries Kerala Ltd, Kannur (part of Steel Authority of India Ltd) and have a carrying capacity of 50 passengers and 10 motorbikes. The boats are operated at a speed of 10 to 15 nautical miles, and complete the 9 km[294] Vyttila-Kakkanad journey in approximately 25 minutes.[295] The service operates on a stretch on the National Waterway III. The service will be extended from Kakkanad to the Smart City area through Kadambrayar in the second phase.[296]

The service was initially planned to launch by Onam (September 2013), however the construction of boat jetties and dredging near the jetties at Kakkanad and Vyttila mobility hub had not been completed by that date.[297] The construction of the boat jetty at Vyttila, including the laying of tiles, roofing of the waiting shed, the construction of exclusive ramps for passengers and motorbikes, cost a total of INR2 million (US$33,000). A similar boat jetty was also constructed at Kakkanad, near Infopark.[293] The service was eventually flagged off by Union Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies K.V. Thomas at 4 pm IST on 19 November 2013.[293]

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External links[edit]