Kochi: AFD, the French Development Bank, will not be extending credit for the proposed second phase extension of the Kochi Metro. Consequently, uncertainty looms over the second phase planned from the International Stadium, Kaloor to Infopark, Kakkanad.
AFD has already conveyed its unwillingness to provide loans for work on the second phase to KMRL (Kochi Metro Rail Limited), the implementing agency of the project. The French agency took the decision reportedly pointing out ambiguities in the central government order clearing the second phase. Moreover, the inflated figures in the project report prepared by DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited) for the first phase work also compelled AFD to withdraw from its commitment.
Incidentally, the first phase work of Kochi Metro was completed after receiving an AFD credit of Rs 1,525 crore at 1.9 percent interest. During a visit to Kochi Metro in 2016 to evaluate the progress of the first phase, the French Ambassador to India had offered loans for the second phase also.
However, following the recent developments, an AFD team arrived in Kochi two months ago and informed KMRL officials during an evaluation meeting at KMRL headquarters that the loan will not be available. Even after two months, KMRL has yet to officially reveal that the French agency has withdrawn from the project.
Ironically, the second phase development was formally inaugurated by the prime minister himself two months ago and actual work was scheduled to start in January, 2023.