With city Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament (MP) Kirron Kher terming the Rs 10,900-crore Metro rail project for the city not 'commercially feasible', the project, already behind schedule by more than a year, is expected to flounder further.
The work on the first corridor to cover 12.49 km was expected to begin in April 2013 and be operational by 2018. The Chandigarh administration and the governments of Punjab and Haryana are yet to formally sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and have also failed to form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) -- a legal entity formed for the implementation of specific projects and isolates the governing authority or stakeholders from operational and financial risk.
Kirron's stand can spell doom for the project as being the MP, she is responsible for pushing and pursuing the case with the central government. Administration sources also maintained that no big project could be executed without the MP's backing.
The Metro is proposed to be started in Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar with the cost to be shared between the Centre, the Chandigarh administration and the governments of Punjab and Haryana in equal proportion.
When contacted, UT adviser KK Sharma said that it was too early to reach a conclusion on the repercussions of the project.
Causes of concern
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 Peak-Hour 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.
Another concern is that the major part of the Metro in the city will be constructed underground, which doubles the cost. UT adviser KK Sharma added that the viability was being reviewed by the central government.
Bansal in favour of Metro
Former Congress MP Pawan Bansal said that the Metro was planned for Chandigarh as well as neighbouring towns of Punjab and Haryana and dismissed the concept of monorail.
TOTAL LENGTH 37.57km
Estimated cost RS 10,900 crore
Number of stations 30
Capitol Complex –Sector 9– Sector-17 ISBT – Aroma Chowk – Sector 34 – Sector-43 ISBT– Sector 52 – Sector 62 (city centre) – Gurdwara Singh Shaheedan, SAS Nagar
PGIMER – GMSH-16 – Sector 9 – Sector 7 – Sector 26 – Timber Market – Chandigarh railway station – Housing Board Chowk – MDC, Panchkula – HUDA Office Complex – City Centre – Panchkula bus stand – district centre –Railli village – Grain market.
WHERE WILL THE MONEY COME FROM
·Loan from agencies such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency
·Allowing increased floor area ratio (FAR) along metro corridors.
·Metro cess on sale of petrol and diesel in the city.
·Tax on commercial vehicles entering Chandigarh.
·Levy of additional charges on the new registration of vehicles.
·Green cess on existing vehicles.