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Kochi Metro may not be inaugurated in April

Kochi March 17: Two days after DMRC principal advisor E. Sreedharan suggested starting commercial operations of Kochi Metro on Aluva-Palarivattom route next month, the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) authorities have hinted at a further delay, saying it was not possible in “half-baked state”.
“The operations won’t be started in a half-baked state. We’re experimenting so many things, and people would get to ride only after completion of all work,” KMRL managing director Elias George said on Wednesday.
“The commissioner of railway safety is set to inspect the system in April first week itself. However, much more need to be done to complete works on stations.”
Citing ‘novelty factors’, he said stations would be run by 700 Kudumbashree women members while each site would act as tourist centres, thanks to theming works in progress.
On March 13, Mr Sreedharan, soon after a meeting with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, said the latter had given the nod to begin metro operations in April itself and that all works will be completed by March 31.
When asked about the meet, Mr George said the issue was brought before the chief minister on that day, and that’s why the date of commissioning was not fixed then.
“The chief minister was also of the view that the time of commissioning can be finalised only after the railway safety commissioner’s inspection.
We’ll have to ensure that all the necessary infrastructure works are completed, including parking facility and last mile connectivity,” he said.
Mr George pointed out that the KMRL was yet to get 0.7 acre land of the KSEB at Palarivattom to provide parking facilities. “The issue was taken up at the March 13 meet,” he said.
On ensuring security for the metro system, the official said the KMRL had requested the state government to provide the service of SISF (State Industrial Security Force) personnel.
“We need 240 staff in the 13-km Aluva-Palarivattom section itself,” he said. Noting that a 160-crore project is being implemented for integration of various modes of transport with the Kochi Metro, the official said the vertical gardens would be set up at every sixth pillar  and that a demo will be ready in two months.