Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) managing director Elias George has announced his decision to step down from the post after completing a five-year tenure. 

George, a 1982 batch IAS officer, has been serving as KMRL chief since August 2012. George took charge at a time when the KMRL was mired in land acquisition issues and shared a strained relationship with DMRC but he managed to steer the project clear of all problems.

The first 13-km stretch from Aluva to Palarivattom was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June. The second reach from Palarivattom to Maharajas College was commissioned by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan earlier this month, extending the Kochi Metro to 18 kms and 16 stations.

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George said that his tenure with Kochi Metro was the best job he had during his service. Under his leadership, KMRL broke new ground in gender justice by opening up employment opportunities to hundreds of women and two dozen transgenders.

"I have been at the helm of the KMRL for the last five years. Now a new talent and new energy is required for completion of various phases of the project including the ambitious Water Metro project," the KMRL chief pointed out. 

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George said an integrated transport system, comprising the metro service and waterways, would be a game changer as far as Kochi city was concerned. He stressed that discussions are on for the procurement of boats for the Water Metro. 

"More than the metro, Water Metro is going to make Kochi a global tourist destination and change the lifestyle of people. Now, Water Metro is the most exciting project in India," The Times of India quoted him a saying.

Speaking about his future plans, George said that he might turn to academics or set up a consultancy service. Reacting to the news, metro man E Sreedharan said, "Sad news for Kochi Metro. There was perfect co-ordination between DMRC and KMRL under Elias George."