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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Lucknow Metro: Post Cabinet nod, ball now in Centre’s court

Gulam Jeelani, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, June 28, 2013
First Published: 12:10 IST(28/6/2013) | Last Updated: 12:14 IST(28/6/2013)

After the Cabinet’s nod to the 23-km-long first phase of metro rail network on Thursday, the ball is now in the Centre’s court for the project that promises to put the state capital on the fast track by giving it the much-awaited mode of public transport.

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The state government would now send a formal proposal to the Centre to include Lucknow Metro in ‘The Metro Railways (Construction of Works) and Metro Railways (Operation and Maintenance) Acts’ - a prerequisite for the work to begin.

Significantly, the work on the first of the three phases in which the project would be implemented would commence only after the central government gives its nod to the state’s proposal to provide it the necessary statutory backing. The first phase, according to government, could be completed in three and half years time (by 2016-17) - if all goes as per plan.

“This is a mandatory prerequisite recommended by the union urban development ministry under its comprehensive mobility plan programme that would not only provide legal backing but also ensure smooth sailing for the project,” explained an official.

Once this is done, only then the process of release of funds would begin, he added. These Acts govern the metro rail in cities like Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru and Mumbai

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) -- the agency that has drafted the project’s detailed project report (DPR) has also revised its blueprint by reducing the length of the underground tracks from seven to three kilometres -- bringing down the cost of the proposed corridor by Rs. 1,000 crore.

The total project cost is estimated at Rs. 15,000 crore to be funded on a 50:50 basis by the Centre and the State. Both the partners would contribute 20% each as equity, while the balance would be raised through loan or debt. A sub-committee constituted by the state government under secretary housing Rajiv Agarwal had earlier this month been asked to suggest measures for raising funds. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has an edge over other funding agencies, said sources.

“The World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the JICA have expressed willingness to bankroll the project. We will review their offers, but JICA seems to have an edge over the others,” the official said.

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