Thiruvananthapuram: Scotching all rumours, Power and Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammed told the Assembly in categorical terms on Thursday that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and ‘Metro Man’ E Sreedharan, its consultant and former chairman, will be in charge of the Kochi Metro rail project. “It was a state cabinet decision and the propaganda to the contrary is not at all true,” replied Aryadan when Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan raised the charge of moves to eject Sreedharan and team from the project.
"The state government had decided that Sreedharan and DMRC will be in charge of the ambitious project. We don’t know how a campaign has arisen to the contrary in a section of the media. We are not responsible for it,’’ he said in reply to a question of the Opposition Leader as to whether there was any truth in reports of the govt holding talks with the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation to entrust it with the Kochi project, after dumping DMRC and Sreedharan.
"In fact, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had even written to the Union Urban Development Ministry much earlier to the cabinet decision, stating that DMRC and Sreedharan should be in the saddle. It was the Centre which insisted that the proposal should be presented before the National Infrastructure Advisory Board first. The Chief Minister, Industries Minister P K Kunhalikutty and myself had together met E Sreedharan and requested him to take charge of the Metro rail and monorail projects mooted in the state,’’ Aryadan said.
Achuthanandan said that the Centre could have accorded sanction to the Metro rail project three years ago. Even though the sanction has been belated, it is a welcome sign. ‘’The LDF Government had decided to entrust the job to DMRC and Sreedharan,’’ he said.
Aryadan said the project was mooted way back in 2004 when the UDF Government was in power, even while accepting the fact that the LDF Government which succeeded it had also initiated some steps to implement the project. “However, no company was registered during the LDF Government’s tenure and no project proposal was submitted to the National Infrastructure Advisory Board to secure mandatory approval. It is the present UDF Government which submitted the project before the board and the Union Government. The Centre has earmarked Rs 60 crore for the Metro project now,’’ he said.
‘’The claim of the Opposition Leader that the LDF had decided on DMRC and Sreedharan is not true,’’ Aryadan said.‘’Both sides can be proud of the project in different ways,’’ he said.