Kochi: The second phase of the Kochi Metro leading to the Infopark at Kakkanad is yet to take off for want of clearance from the Union government. The clearance from the state government also needs to be renewed for the project, which is expected to benefit about 1.26 lakh commuters daily.
Construction on the track to Kakkanad was supposed to start even before the completion of the first phase between Aluva and Tripunithura but the central government was not very keen on the project.
Now the state government has to renew its permission for the project and lobby the central government to get the green signal. The second phase is expected to increase the number of passengers manifold as it connects the city to the IT hub of Kakkanad.
The SmartCity in Kakkanad is expected to generate about 1.5 lakh employments by 2020. Such a development cannot be sustained without transport facilities including a Metro Rail.
A feasibility study has estimated that as many as 7,939 passengers are expected on the Metro every hour in one direction. The number is expected to grow to 10,890 in 2030.
The first Metro trains are expected to roll out soon on a 13-kilometer stretch between Aluva and Palarivattom. The Metro Rail Safety Commissioner will conduct safety checks next month ahead of the inauguration of the service.
The second phase of the project will start from Kaloor International Stadium and proceed to Infopark via Kakkanad Civil Lane Road, Seaport-Airport Road and Infopark Road. The finished line will have 11 stations dotting the 11.7 kilometer stretch.
The most challenging work related to the project is the widening of the Kakkanad Civil Lane Road to 22 meters.
As much as 3.85 hectares of land has to be acquired for the project, which has been approved by the state government and the Kochi Metro Rail Limited Board.
The second phase is expected to cost Rs 2,024 crore. French development agency AFD has offered Rs 840 crore as loan. The central and state governments are required to spent Rs 300 crore each.
The previous United Democratic Front government had earmarked Rs 189 crore for the groundwork for the second phase.