The Metro dream of the tricity finally looks on track. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed among the governments of Haryana and Punjab, and Chandigarh administration for the formation of Greater Chandigarh Transport Corporation (GCTC) on Thursday for developing a comprehensive integrated multi-modal urban and suburban commuting system for the Union Territory and surrounding areas in the states of Haryana and Punjab.
The memorandum was signed in the presence of Punjab and Haryana governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, who also happens to be the UT administrator, by UT adviser Vijay Dev; additional chief secretary, Haryana town and country planning department, P Raghavendra Rao and secretary, town and planning, Punjab, A Venu Prasad. The Centre had recently sent a redrafted memorandum of understanding to the UT administration for getting it signed by other two stakeholders — Punjab and Haryana — and then send it back to the government of India.
The initial equity of GCTC would be Rs 100 crore, which would be equally contributed —25% each by union ministry of urban development (MoUD), Chandigarh administration, government of Haryana and government of Punjab.
The board of directors of GCTC will have three representatives from the MoUD and two each from Chandigarh, Haryana and Punjab. The secretary, MoUD, will be the exofficio chairman of the corporation. The full-time managing director of the corporation will be appointed by the Centre in consultation with the board of directors.
The corporation will undertake various studies and projects for the development of public transport service in the region under the public-private partnership mode.
THE ROAD AHEAD
The signed MoU will now be sent to the government of India for approval. Once the Centre gives its nod, the Greater Chandigarh Transport Corporation (GCTC) will be formed. The actual work on Metro would start with the formation of the GCTC, which will decide when and how to start work. The UT adviser, Vijay Kumar Dev, said this was a great achievement for the city and the work on Metro could start by the end of this year. The Metro could be a reality in five years and would greatly help in reducing traffic road congestion, thus checking air pollution in the City Beautiful.
THE PROJECT AT A GLANCE
The total length of Metro rail project covering Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar is 37.57 km. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 10,900 crore. The cost of the project will be shared by the Centre, Chandigarh administration and governments of Punjab and Haryana. The first phase was expected to be operational by 2020.
Covering a distance of 12.49km (4.97 km will fall in SAS Nagar), the first corridor of Metro will stretch from UT’s Capitol Complex to SAS Nagar’s Sector 70. The project’s second corridor (25.7km) will start from Mullanpur and end at the grain market in Panchkula’s Sector 20.
DOUBTS OVER VIABILITY
Doubts over financial viability and the relatively low population of the city at 10.55 lakh (2011 Census) are seen as hurdles in the execution of the project. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) states that the Metro will not be commercially viable till 2051 due to poor PeakHour Peak-Direction Traffic (PHPDT).
This means that the facility needs to be used by 40,000-70,000 passengers at the peak hour in peak traffic to ensure viability, which is expected to be achieved only in 2051.