France-based financial institution Agence Française de Développement is likely to give its in-principle nod for loan to Kochi Metro Rail Limited.
“They are pleased with the Kochi visit. We expect in-principal clearance for the loan as early as April.
"If all goes well, the loan can be processed by the end of December or latest by January 2014,” said Elias George, managing director, KMRL.
The metro project needs an external borrowing of about Rs 2,170 crore (Rs 21.7 billion).
The French agency is likely to offer Rs 1,050 crore loan with a tenure of 20 years.
It would come with a moratorium of nine years and 2 per cent interest.
The French delegation recently held discussions with chief minister Oommen Chandy, power and transport minister Aryadan Muhammed and other senior government officials at Thiruvananthapuram.
The team had asked for additional data on environment impact and traffic details to ascertain sustainability of the project, a KMRL release stated.
Representatives of AFD also completed their two-day pre-appraisal mission with KMRL.
The agency had a detailed discussion with KMRL managing director and other senior officials.
They also met E Sreedharan, principal adviser to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.
Later, the team, comprising Aude Flogny, regional director, South Asia, and Gautier Kohler, project coordinator -- India, visited the proposed route of the metro that extends from Aluva to Petta (Thripunithura).
Of the total external loan of Rs 2,170 crore (Rs 21.7 billion), KMRL expects roughly 50 per cent from AFD.
The project, which received final approval from the Centre in July last year, is estimated to cost Rs 5,180 crore (Rs 51.8 billion) and is scheduled to be completed by 2016.
Phase-I will have 22 stations and a system length of 26 km.
KMRL has also sought financial aid from the Japan International Co-operation Agency (Jica).
A 10-member Jica team had visited Kochi last November and their preliminary report is expected by this month-end.
The loans expected from AFD and Jica work out to about 42 per cent of the total project cost.
The state is expected to provide Rs 2,009 crore or Rs 20.09 billion (including land acquisition cost) and the Centre Rs 1,002 crore (Rs 10.02 billion).
Both central and state governments will extend financial support through capital investment.
The state government also approved the tripartite agreement for the construction of the metro, involving the Centre, Kerala government and KMRL.
Meanwhile, Hudco will provide Rs 563 crore for land acquisition.
The estimate for land acquisition has now gone up to Rs 1,110 crore (Rs 11.1 billion) from the earlier Rs 672 crore (Rs 6.72 billion) with the increase in land area to be acquired on account of revisions in the alignment and parking space at stations.
The total land required now is 40.41 hectare from 31.92 hectares.
Photograph, courtesy: Business Standard