V.K. Ebrahim Kunju
In the fast changing event in regard to the funding of the Kerala monorail project, a consortium led by State Bank of India (SBI) is all set to seal Rs.2,000cr credit line deal for the straddlebeam monorail transit system in Thiruvananthapuram after the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) called upon the state government to drop the suppliercredit funding option model. It may be recalled that earlier, though the SBIled bank consortium had offered credit for the Rs.3,590cr infrastructure project, the state government had shied away, putting the onus of clinching the funding option on the winning bidder, Works Minister, VK Ebrahim Kunju, said adding that the state government has decided to relax the global tender terms for Thiruvananthapuram monorail transit and the matter would be set rolling at the meeting of the Kerala Monorail Corporation (KMRC) - a specialpurpose vehicle to set Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram monorail transit systems in place.

It may be recalled that Chief Advisor, DMRC, E Sreedharan, has offered to fast track the commencement of the work on monorail to March 2014, to match the expedition of tenders and the project is expected to be complete by April 2018. The DMRC urged the state to shift from the suppliercredit funding option. Because of the complex tendering system, the Japanese, Chinese, German and Malaysian firms who participated in the prebid meeting in New Delhi, called by DMRC, had kept out of the bidding ring. Only the Indian arm of the Canadian firm Bombardier turned up. KMRC,s new schedule is to invite tenders by mid November and complete the procedures by the end of January. Several foreign infrastructure players had informed DMRC of their inability to participate in the Thiruvananthapuram monorail project because of the caveat that only the companies that manufactured monorail coaches could bid for the project and now the caveat stands removed.