Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala on Saturday urged Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to start the Light Metro project at the earliest, two days after Metroman E. Sreedharan announced that the DMRC was exiting it.
On Thursday, a peeved Sreedharan went public to say that the government failed to sign an agreement with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) even 14 months after it was awarded the project.
Chennithala, in an open letter, said the people of Kerala are "sad to hear that Sreedharan and DMRC had no option but to exit the proposed Light Metro projects" at Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode as the government was silent to repeated demands on going forward with the project.
He said the projects would have ended the traffic woes.
"It should be noted that when Kochi Metro continued to remain a dream, it was Sreedharan who made that into a reality... it became the fastest completed metro project in the country.
"It's unfortunate that Sreedharan had to withdraw from a project in his own state and it's a shame for our state... in all fairness to him, you should ask Sreedharan and the DMRC to return and take up the work at the earliest," said Chennithala in his letter.
State Finance Minister Thomas Issac told the media in Delhi on Saturday that no one has any doubts on the credentials of Sreedharan and the only issue was that one has to be extremely cautious on major infrastructure projects.
"We have seen in the past that investment-heavy projects later become a burden to the state exchequer with regards to its sustainability and this has been even pointed out by the courts. Vizhinjam port project is one such case. The state and the Centre are presently reviewing the metro projects and once that is done, further action would be taken," said Issac.
The Light Metro project was budgeted at Rs 6,728 crore, with 60 per cent of the funds to come from foreign funding agencies at a low rate of interest, and 20 per cent each from the state and the Centre.