Almost four years after it had submitted a detailed project report (DPR) to the Government of Kerala over the Kozhikode and Thiruvanantapuram Light Rail (LRT) projects, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has finally withdrawn from them, reports TheNewsMinute. The move follows the state government’s failure to sign the agreement that was sent by the DMRC fifteen months ago.
The news was confirmed by former DMRC chairman and current Prinicpal Advisor E Sreedharan at a press meet today (8 March). He said that DMRC had been forced to withdraw due to "no progress in work” despite multiple meetings with Chief Minister Pinrayi Vijayan and other ministers and bureaucrats.
Sreedharan said that in most cases, approval from the Government of India comes in two years after the DPR is submitted, but state governments usually commence work prior to that. Kerala had not done it, choosing instead to wait for the Centre’s approval. DMRC had begun preparatory works including land acquisition once the DPR was finalised.
In June 2016, after the new LDF government came to power, they gave the nod for preparatory works to begin. The CM took a stand that we should start the construction work after we get approval from GoI. The Kerala government asked DMRC to go ahead with the preparatory works. In September 2016, a GO (Government Order) was issued, asking DMRC to do the consultancy and preparatory works. In December 2016, we gave a draft agreement to the government.E Sreedharan
He also said that at a meeting of the Kerala Rapid Transit Corporation Limited (KRTCL) held in December, there were many who said that tenders should be called in and assigned to another firm, prompting DMRC to consider their withdrawal.
KRTCL is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) set up by the state government to build and operate the LRT projects in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. DMRC earlier had 16 offices in Kerala for various projects, operating at a cost of Rs 16 lakh a month which are now being shut down.
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