French standards have fallen

The Time of India reports about the Kochi Metro project: “French team happy with progress report” (Apr. 21, 2016). And adds, “A three-member team from Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the French development agency funding the project, visited the metro sites and expressed satisfaction over the progress of the work on Wednesday (Apr. 20).”

For the Kerala government, the Kochi Metro is more a political propaganda [2] tool than a transportation system. The metro trains are expected to be operational June this year. It seems unlikely that the deadlines [2, 3, 4] will be met. There were reports that even when the service starts, it will be partial as significant portions of the tracks and stations are still under construction. Actual areas served by the Kochi Metro will be less than originally planned. For example, when the current construction is completed, service will not reach the transportation hub in Tripunithura [2, 3] as originally planned. Lots of trees were cut to make way for the Kochi Metro, and there were promises that 10 trees will be planted for each tree cut. However, the actual trees planted were far less than promised, and forest department found that the saplings are not being cared for [2, 3]. (That said, it needs to be pointed out that the Kochi Metro is progressing better than many other development projects in Kerala.)

Yet, according to the report the French agency, AFD, is satisfied. France has a rich tradition of high standards, and, in fact, established the metric system of standards [2]. Besides, many scientific breakthroughs originated in France. For example, analytic geometry [2], calculus, chemistry, and high-speed rail [2, 3]. And, of course, modern democracy started in France [2, 3, 4, 5].

So the interesting question is: Have the French standards slipped? Or, perhaps, France does not want high standards for Kochi Metro?

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