Finance ministry approves Metro rail projects in Bhopal, Indore, Kanpur, Agra and Delhi
Besides the five metro projects, the Rs 32,000 crore Delhi-Meerut corridor of the proposed Rapid Rail Transit System also got the in-principle nod from the finance ministry.Updated: Jun 27, 2018 08:27 IST
Metro construction will pick up pace in the country with the Union finance ministry recently giving “in-principle” approval to five proposed metro projects in Indore, Bhopal, Kanpur, Agra, and Delhi, with an estimated cost of Rs 1.07 lakh crore, senior central and state government officials familiar with the matter said.
Besides the five metro projects, the Rs 32,000 crore Delhi-Meerut corridor of the proposed Rapid Rail Transit System also got the in-principle nod from the finance ministry.
The “in-principle” approval is just the first step in a series of approvals that will follow before the projects finally take off the ground. “These projects will now go to the finance ministry’s Public Investment Board (PIB) for approval. After PIB clearance, the projects will go to the Union cabinet,” one of the officials cited above said.
In Delhi, three corridors of phase four of the metro, running into 61.66km with an estimated cost of Rs 29,000 crore, have been approved, another official of the Union housing and urban affairs ministry said.
Giving details of the projects in Uttar Pradesh, a senior official of the state urban development department said, “The total length of the two corridors of the Kanpur metro rail project is 32.38km and the completion cost, excluding the land cost and state taxes, is Rs 16,192 crore. The length of the Agra stretch of the metro, which will also have two corridors, is 30km and the completion cost is Rs 12,253 crore.”
Two of the other metro projects that got the “in-principle” nod are in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh. The proposed length of the Indore project is 104.25km and the estimated cost is Rs 26,762 crore while the length of the Bhopal metro is 95.03km and the estimated cost is Rs 22,504.25.
The projects approved by the finance ministry are the first to be approved after the government came out with the new metro policy last August. The policy made PPP (public private partnership) component mandatory for availing central assistance for all new metro projects.
G Raghuram, transport economist at IIM Bangalore, said that with the aspiration for vehicle ownership growing, mass rapid transport systems are a desirable option in our cities that have reasonable population density.
“However, it is important to identify good corridors to ensure that the project is financially viable. Considering the complexities involved in metro construction, bringing in private players at the construction stage is risky. The government should do the construction and private players can be roped in for operation and maintenance,” he said.
Raghuram cited the case of Hyderabad and Mumbai metro built on PPP mode.
“They got delayed because during the construction phase there were many issues of getting permission and public agitation, risks that would be too much for private partners,” he said.