An Exclusive Interview with Mr. Thiruman Archunan, Director Projects, Kochi Metro Rail Ltd.

Mr Thiruman Archunan
Director – Projects, Kochi Metro Rail Limited

‘‘ Incharge of All Civil works related to KMRL( Kochin metro rail limited): construction of metro stations, viaduct, track, depot, and others works related to Roads, improvements to city landscape, Place making and other NMT ( Nonmotorised transport) related works, modernised ferry services etc. ’’

Rail Analysis India: Firstly, Congratulations for completing one year of operations, please share your experience with our readers on working with Kochi Metro? What have been the challenges in the first year of operations?

Mr Thiruman Archunan: My association with Kochi Metro Started on August 2016 when the construction of first reach was in hectic phase and company was gearing up for the safety clearances from commissioner of Railway Safety. It is very glad to share that we could complete all the works satisfactorily and drive through all the approvals very smoothly and operations could
start on June 2017 as per target. The commissioning of first stage 13.4 Km with 11 Stations is completed in a record time of less than 4 years. The first year of operation was very hopeful as well as challenging one. It’s our pleasure to share that around 1.5 crore persons have used Kochi Metro in its first year of operation with an average of 35000 commuters per day. This is one of the great achievement by any metro in its initial & partial commissioning stage. Also as part of its first anniversary celebration, free ride was made available to public on 19th June 2018 on which around 1.5 Lakhs passengers enjoyed Metro which showed the excitement of people to use metro facility and KMRL too handled the largest crowd without any operational problem. Even though our system is one of the most advanced in the world operation without failures and causalities will be the greatest challenge of all Operating Metros especially in its initial stages. Kochi Metro have
completed remarkable one year without any major failures & casualties providing a new pathway of safe & efficient Metro Service.

Rail Analysis India: What is latest civil progress in the Kochi Metro? When will the civil works from Ernakulam to Petta be completed?

Mr Thiruman Archunan: The stretch from Aluva to Maharajas of 18.2 Kms is operational from October 2017. Balance stretch of 7 Kms from Maharajas College to Petta is passing through the centre core of Kochi City touching the major Railway Station Ernakulam South and Vytila, the busiest junction of Kerala. The stretch also contains one 90m single span balanced cantilever across conventional Railway line at Ernakulam South which will turn as one of the iconic heavy civil construction in the city once completed. Also one bridge namely Champakkara Bridge across canal is getting reconstructed by providing vehicular traffic through first level and Metro through second
level. The Civil works of Ernakulam South to Petta is progressing fast aiming to commence operation by late 2019.

Rail Analysis India: Tell us the about current status of Kochi water metro project? Inform us on the routes Water Metro has decided to start operations?

Mr Thiruman Archunan: Kochi Water Metro Project is progressing well through its preliminary works as well as readiness for tender for the major works. The land acquisition is in advance stage and tender for Design Consultancy is in the final stage of awarding. The layout for terminals, pontoons have been finalised and will be tendered shortly. RFQ is under finalisation for boat procurement also. KMRL aims to start its water metro service by mid 2019.

Rail Analysis India: Please brief us more about the future phases of Kochi metro project?

Mr Thiruman Archunan: The current Phase of Kochi Metro named Phase I is from Aluva to Petta which is around 25.6 Kms with 22 Stations. The Phase IA is planned for extension to Tripunithura for a length about 3 Kms with 3 Metro Stations. Once completed, Tripunithura will be a major terminal station integrated with the conventional Railway Station & upcoming Municipal Bus Depot. The phase II of Kochi Metro is planned from JLN Stadium to Infopark for 11.2 Kms with 11 Stations. This line serving the upcoming IT Parks in Info Park and Smart City is expected to capture a large dedicated customers for KMRL. Consequent to the Metro Policy 2017, the DPR for Phase II has been prepared and submitted to Government of Kerala. The same is in active consideration of GoK. Phase III- Aluva to Angamaly of about 13Kms northward extension is in the DPR Stage.

Rail Analysis India: What are your plans to integrate Kochi Metro with other modes of public transport like Bus and Auto?

Mr Thiruman Archunan: One of the Key features of Kochi Metro is Kochi 1 Card which is aiming to provide seamless travel to all commuters through single ticketing system. Also MTA bill formulated by KMRL is in active consideration of Government of Kerala which will enable all public transport under a single umbrella. KMRL is also taking initiatives to form societies of bus and auto operators which will help for better co-ordination. Effective feeder services through other modes of minor transport
system only will help to provide a complete end to end transport solution. Also KMRL is keen on developing integration hubs in Kochi like Vyttila Mobility Hub for which Government of Kerala

Rail Analysis India: Any additional information about the Kochi Metro you like to share with our readers?

Mr Thiruman Archunan: All the interiors of Kochi Metro stations are designed with themes based on the flora & fauna of Western Ghats and the Socio Economic History of Kochi. This has provided the commuters better customer experience which in turn provided more aesthetic as well as economic value to the stations & its surroundings. Apart from the basic role of a transport provider company, Kochi Metro is taking various initiatives to make Kochi as the best liveable place under sun. In line with that KMRL is taking various Non-Motorised Transport Initiatives & Junction Improvements
programs like Station Oriented Development which would enhance the aesthetic beauty of the city as well as make the corridor pedestrian friendly. Kochi Metro is also focused on implementing Water Metro to connect various islands in and around Kochi which will improve the living standards of surrounding areas of Kochi.


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