Metro gets step closer to becoming reality in Chandigarh tricity

By, Chandigarh
Mar 17, 2023 01:27 AM IST

Metro project, as proposed by RITES, gets in-principle nod from Chandigarh administration, Punjab and Haryana; ball now in central government’s court

Nearly 14 years after it was first mooted, Metro may finally become a reality in the tricity with the stakeholders according the project their approval on Thursday.

Punjab governor and UT administrator Banwarilal Purohit chairing a meeting regarding the comprehensive mobility plan (CMP) for the tricity in Chandigarh on Thursday. (HT Photo)
Punjab governor and UT administrator Banwarilal Purohit chairing a meeting regarding the comprehensive mobility plan (CMP) for the tricity in Chandigarh on Thursday. (HT Photo)

During a meeting regarding the comprehensive mobility plan (CMP) for the tricity, which was chaired by Punjab governor and UT administrator Banwarilal Purohit, both the Punjab and Haryana governments, and the Chandigarh administration, gave the Metro project their in-principle nod.

The Metro proposal, as readied by the Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES), will now be sent to the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs for the final go-ahead.

To tackle tricity’s burgeoning traffic chaos, RITES has proposed a 39-km Metro network, spread across Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, while steering clear of the heritage sectors – Sector 1 to 30.

Expected to cost 10,570 crore, the mass rapid transport system (MRTS) will also comprise bus terminals, bus depots and geometrical improvements at busy intersections, among others.

The meeting was attended by Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Punjab tourism and culture affairs minister Anmol Gagan Mann, Chandigarh adviser Dharam Pal, mayor Anup Gupta, Haryana chief secretary, senior officers from Punjab and Haryana, air force, police and railways authorities, along with other stakeholders.

RITES presented the report covering all aspects of CMP, including the vision and objectives of the study, existing traffic scenario, problems, short, medium and long-term plans and proposals, citywide integrated multi-modal transport plan, institutional strengthening, broad cost estimate and the way forward.

Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority

The stakeholders further agreed to set up a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA), a unified platform to handle overall mobility issues of the tricity. UMTA will comprise officials from the central government, Chandigarh administration, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to ensure coordination among various institutions and implementation of the mobility plan to improve the tricity’s traffic situation.

Connect Pinjore, Kalka with Chandigarh, Zirakpur via Metro: Haryana CM

At the meeting, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said Panchkula’s Pinjore and Kalka towns should have Metro rail connectivity from Chandigarh and Zirakpur, respectively, under the CMP. He said these routes should be included in the first phase of the Metro project.

Khattar suggested that important places, such as the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Punjab and Haryana high court, Secretariat and Vidhan Sabha should be added in the first phase of the Metro.

The Punjab principal secretary of housing and urban development, Ajoy Kumar Sinha, advised connecting Airport Chowk in Mohali to the Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport in Phase 1 itself.

Chandigarh mayor Anup Gupta also suggested that Metro should cover PGIMER, high court and Panjab University in the first phase and other parts of the city in the second phase.

What RITES has proposed

As per the RITES report, the proposed Metro network comprises two corridors to be implemented in two phases. While the first corridor — from Chandigarh’s Grain Market Chowk to Panchkula — will be 22.5-km long, the second will run from Sector-43 ISBT in Chandigarh to Saneta village in Mohali, with a total length of 16.5 km.

The mobility plan readied by RITES has been divided into short, medium and long-term transport improvement proposals, with focus on improving parking management, junctions, pedestrian infrastructure, road infrastructure, local bus system, intermodal interchanges and integrated freight complexes.

With a population of over 12 lakh and 15 lakh registered vehicles, Chandigarh has the highest density of vehicles per household in the country, leading to acute traffic problems. Then, over 2 lakh vehicles moving on tricity and inter-state routes also cross the city daily, exacerbating the congestion.

The comprehensive mobility plan, allotted to RITES Limited in December 2021, is aimed at resolving this burgeoning problem.

Metro plan rejected by central govt previously

Notably, RITES had also recommended Metro in its first report readied in 2009. But eight years later, the Union home ministry had rejected the project in 2017 and asked the UT administration to look for alternative models of transport. The ministry’s contention was that Metro was not viable in Chandigarh due to the city’s size. Also, its 14,000-crore cost was not financially feasible. Besides, neither Punjab nor Haryana had given their consent in writing.

But since the Metro plans were shelved, the administration has not been able to opt for any other alternative, such as monorail, skybus or metrolite. A flyover, underpass and an elevated rotary at the Tribune Chowk, approved and funded by the Union government, has been stuck in legal wrangles, while the ring roads around the tricity have also yet to see light of the day.


    Hillary Victor is a Principal Correspondent at Chandigarh. He covers Chandigarh administration, municipal corporation and all political parties.

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