The metro rail has begun its eastward march towards Assam and Odisha.
Last week, the Centre approved financial help to the Odisha government and asked it to prepare a detailed project report to construct a nearly 32km metro line connecting Jatani, Khurda, Bhubaneswar, Barang, Cuttack and Choudwar.
Delhi is considering a similar request from Assam.
Barring Calcutta, none of the eastern cities have metro rail projects.
The Union urban development ministry has agreed to sanction 50 per cent of the cost to make the detailed project report.
“It takes nearly one to two years for a detailed project report as the comprehensive city mobility plan also has to be made, which will take into account the ridership and viable routes,” said a senior official.
All metro rail projects need a nod from the Centre before they can take off. Currently, a metro rail project is financed jointly by the Union and the state government. The Union urban development ministry usually holds a minor stake. The construction of a metro’s underground track costs Rs 300 crore per kilometre and an overhead metro line costs close to Rs 200 crore per kilometre.
The state government has to bear at least 50 per cent of the cost.
The Calcutta new metro line, the East West metro, is the only exception, as the state government does not have any stake in it.
The model for this metro was changed under pressure from Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee who was railway minister at that time and wanted full control of the metro project. At present, the Union railway ministry holds 74 per cent stake while the urban development ministry has 26 per cent stake.
The metro rail currently is operational in Bangalore, Delhi and Calcutta.
All the three cities are also constructing additional lines and new phases.
New metro projects are under construction in Jaipur, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai.
The Jaipur metro is scheduled to be operational from October this year while the Mumbai metro is expected to open by December this year. Both Chennai and Hyderabad metros are scheduled to open to the public by 2015.
Gujarat has also launched a company, Metro Link Express for Gandhi Nagar and Ahmedabad, or MEGA.
A month ago, the company had sent the detailed project report for the 83km metro line connecting Gujarat’s twin cities of Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad.
The Centre, however, has returned the project without approval.
“The detailed project report has been forwarded by the company and not by the Gujarat government so we cannot accept the proposal. The state government has to invest in the project, therefore they should forward the proposal and not the firm,” said a senior ministry official.
Pune metro’s detailed project report is also under scrutiny. It was sent back by the Centre for further details as there were doubts about the alignment.
In Punjab, Ludhiana and Chandigarh have also approached the ministry.
The Chandigarh administration proposes to connect the two suburbs — Zirakpur and Mohali.
Ludhiana has also proposed to include its suburbs. The Centre is yet to clear these projects.
News Courtesy : The Telegraph
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