Kochi metro: A milestone in public transport development

Kochi metro has become a reality transforming the norms of developmental process in Kerala.

Touted as the country’s technically best metro service and officially named Komet, the metro service kick started its journey through Kochi, as the pride of Kerala. The project is a rare endeavor that was completed in a time bound manner, within the announced budget sans any corruption allegations. The decision to provide employment for women and transgenders in the metro is applaudable. In its maiden journey, the considerations given to the weaker sections and differently abled children in the places through which the metro passes, are surely noteworthy leaps in the celebration of progress. Let all these factors indicate the commitment of the government to undertake conscious efforts to benefit weaker sections, the socially marginalized and those who genuinely deserve the fruits of development. A public transport system that combines efficiency and technology is what forms a stable and environment-friendly developmental process.

The needs of the people will be fulfilled in a complete sense only if the different means of transportation are merged in a way that private vehicles needn’t be used. The challenge before the KMRL is to develop Kochi metro and related means of public transportation systems as an integrated public transport system good enough to be imitated by all the cities in the country. The people will be able to experience the true value of development only when the determination displayed in the construction of the metro is shown in the implementation as well. The smooth mergers of Nedumbassery airport, the bus hub in Vytilla, and the ferry service in Kochi with the metro are still in papers. The skyways connecting the two railway stations in Ernakulam, metro station, Kaloor bus stand and KSRTC bus stand also remain a dream. If the water metro project in Kochi is implemented quickly, it would become one of the finest travel routes to Fort Kochi.

If the construction and implementation of metro could not be realised so as to make possible the repayment of loan of Rs 2170 crore to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the goal of reducing the city’s traffic congestion, it wouldn’t take much time for the stream of appreciations to turn into a tsunami of criticisms. The services of feeder buses will have to be ensured to confirm the availability of the expected passengers. The success of the government in merging the different transport agencies is what will determine the future of the metro. The controversies related to the inaugural function reveal the indelicacy of our political leaders. Will the politicians ever understand the lesson that only selfless deeds will conquer the hearts of people? That is what they should understand from the thunderous applause of the audience when the name of E. Sreedharan, the project's chief architect, was mentioned.

Kerala, post controversy, has shown that the taking over of undeserving credits of all kinds under the influence of power would only be rendered a mockery. Decency and cultural decorum that go beyond politics are expected from the bureaucrats and leaders in public functions as well and not only in the process of development. The unparalleled role of Oommen Chandy government in the completion of the project the foundation of which was laid on September 13, 2012 by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, couldn’t be forgotten. Madhyamam extends a hearty congratulations to all those who toiled hard for the accomplishment of the Rs 5182 crore project including DMRC Chief Advisor E Sreedharan and KMRL Managing Director Elias George.

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