Kochi may have India’s first privately owned Metro network

India’s first privately-owned Metro network may come up in Kochi, going by new chief minister Oommen Chandy’s statement today.

While all other metros and suburban train networks in the country — those of Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolakata — are owned and controlled by government owned companies, Chandy has said his government is open to handing over the project to a private company.

Currently, only two point-to-point projects — the Airport Link metro in Delhi and the under-construction elevated Metro Link in Mumbai — are in private hands. Both these projects are being constructed and managed by the Anil Ambani group’s Reliance Infrastructure. The Hyderabad metro is being constructed in a public-private-partnership model.

The Rs 10,000 crore project in Kochi, still on the drawing board, may prove to be one of the largest infrastructure projects ever to be awarded to a private company in India.

While Chandy’s Congress government is seen as pro-private sector, his predecessor VS Achuthanandan led a pro-public sector Left-party government.

Chandy’s statement on involving private sector in the project is also the result of difficulties faced by the state government in securing the required funds for the Kochi project.