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Home minister Rajnath Singh puts brakes on Chandigarh’s Metro project

Senior officer of urban development ministry explained that metro is not viable in Chandigarh, keeping in view the size of the city. 

punjab Updated: Jul 28, 2017 23:43 IST
Hillary Victor 
Hillary Victor 
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Home minister,Rajnath Singh,Metro project
UT administrator VP Singh Badnore, MP Kirron Kher, other officials with Union home minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Thursday.(HT Photo)

Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday put brakes on the much touted Metro rail project for Chandigarh and asked officers of UT administration to look for alternative models of transport. The issue came up for discussion during home minister’s advisory committee meeting held in New Delhi.

Senior officer of urban development ministry explained that metro is not viable in Chandigarh, keeping in view the size of the city.

Even, UT adviser, Parimal Rai, who was also present at the meeting, said, “Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) is asking for 200 acre land, which we do not have. Moreover, it is a project worth Rs 14,000 crore and financially it is not feasible. Also, neither Punjab nor Haryana have given their consent in writing.”

On this home minster asked officers to look for alternate models such as buying more buses or some other options.Another member of the committee, Surinder Bahga said, “The Metro project will not be financially viable till 2051, in view of inadequate projected peak-hour, peak-direction traffic (PHPDT). For Chandigarh Metro project, the cross system of network being proposed by the DMRC report is not suitable for Chandigarh region.”

It means the transport 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.

“Moreover, this is one of the most inefficient mass rapid transport system (MRTS) systems in the world. This type of network has hardly been used in any major city of the world,” said Bahga.

Kher had opposed the project

Member of Parliament (MP) Kirron Kher had already opposed the project as she said, “City does not need Metro link as residents do not want city to be uprooted. Also, it involves huge budget and it is not a financially viable project.” The MP had said the solution to the problem of increasing vehicles is a ring road.

Huge budget on project

UT adviser Parimal Rai in the meeting said Union ministry of urban development will provide 50% funds for the project, the rest will be borne by the UT. The estimated cost of the project has jumped from Rs 10,900 crore to Rs 14,000 crore in the past seven years and UT does not have the funds.

Project was already under doubt

Though the work on the first phase was scheduled to begin from 2013, but due to the delay the cost of the project has escalated. According to the revised detailed project report prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the project will cost Rs 13,600 crore and Chandigarh’s share will be around Rs 5,000 crore.

The total length of the Metro project covering Chandigarh, SAS Nagar and Panchkula is 37.57km. The major portion of the two corridors falls in Chandigarh. The relatively low population of the city and the financial cost have been an issue since the beginning.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 10:56 IST