Friday, April 29, 2011

Random thoughts on Metro railway project Cochin

by D Dhanuraj

there has been a marathon debate on Cochin metro. it is on limbo for the last seven years; reasonable time for completion of construction of metro rail in any city. still we are debating and discussing. From each one's point of view, there is fair concession to be given on the nicety of the arguments; each one is relevant and significant in their knowledge domain.

I am not arguing here for the merits and demerits of the funding side of metro in a city like Cochin.i am happy to be a citizen of a city having metro. now, the reports say that DMRC starts its construction activities by demolishing and rebuilding North over bridge. I was wondering we had to wait for a metro to come before we realign north over bridge. is it a development trap like poverty trap for the socialist economy? how many years we have taken to arrive at such a decision and citing metro now is a feasible option for the eye wash.

there is aghast among the general public regarding the time that metro corporation will take to reconstruct the works for north over bridge. what are the reasons for such a hysteria? is it because we don't believe DMRC team? given the track record they have in New Delhi in construction activities, i wonder what is it all about? if they can manage the construction activities in busy junctions by which many VVIPs drive through and busy markets like Karol Baghs and Chandini Chowks, why cant be rest assured in Cochin? whom should we blame for our own pinch for the delays and lockouts?

it is reported that there will be some traffic rearrangement in Cochin city while the construction works are going on. before scaling up the construction works, why cant the authorities make sure that access to Pullepady bridge is improved and smoothened? they can also assure the right turn from Kaloor to Elamakarra can lead to Edapally as the same case with the better connectivity between High court Junction and Kalamassery.

i am not sure when the actual construction work will start for Metro. lets hope the new government will take the steps to ensure the the project is on. i wonder why Seematti opposed railway station there in front of their shop. i think both DMRC and the stake holders must understand that stations can be designed in such a way that the value capture is enough for a party like Seematti to welcome to you to their door steps. instead of thinking aloud for their parking problems, Ms Beena Kannan shall invest in metro in a proper way. she can save time and energy and more importantly the money that she will invest for buying the land to expand the parking facilities. why cant these shop owners are taken into confidence and initiates a process where development rights are indexed with captured value of the business and metro to a variable coefficient? let them fund the metro and who knows the public can take metro at a lesser price and thus provide a solution for sustainable urban transport. Look at the models at Hongkong and other places. DMRC should make sure that these ideas give better opportunities to the opponents to be a part of the larger project. lets CBD enjoy and fund themselves from the project.

going to back to the theory of delays, i must confess that i am also pessimistic. if these roads are not relaid to the original position in a meaningful time frame, it will kill the economy. at the same time, i am worried about the plans of metro corporation; what about the first and last mile problems? are we designing the stations in such a way that the buses, autos and private vehicles can come and pick the passengers and drop at. will there be good light at these stations so that we especially the women dont have to be scared to board the trains. these are the questions need to be discussed while the project is sanctioned.

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