Will re-evalute Chandigarh Metro project report in light of new policy: Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri
“Today, every city wants Metro, but as far as Chandigarh is concerned, we will check its viability by studying the detailed project report (DPR) according to the new policy,” he said.punjab Updated: Oct 05, 2017 12:29 IST
Even as Union home minister Rajnath Singh and Lok Sabha member from Chandigarh Kirron Kher are opposing the Metro rail project in the city, newly appointed Union minister for housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said on Wednesday that the Centre will seek a fresh proposal from the UT administration to assess the project’s viability once again.
The DPR has stated that the project will not be commercially viable till 2051 due to the poor Peak-Hour Peak-Direction Traffic.
Puri, who was in the city to participate in a financial inclusion camp at Sector 17, told HT that his ministry has already approved the new Metro rail policy for expanding the network across various cities in the country.
“Today, every city wants Metro, but as far as Chandigarh is concerned, we will check its viability by studying the detailed project report (DPR) according to the new policy,” he said.
Earlier project almost scrapped
Doubts have been raised over the project’s financial viability owing to the city’s low population.
The DPR has stated that the project will not be commercially viable till 2051 due to the poor Peak-Hour Peak-Direction Traffic (PHPDT). It means the facility needs to be used by 40,000-70,000 passengers at peak hours in peak traffic to ensure viability, which is expected to be achieved only by 2051.
- On Chandigarh slipping in sanitation standards, Puri said the City Beautiful was still much better than other cities. The city has slipped in the annual Swachh Survekshan Survey from second position in 2016 to the eleventh this year. “I am not worried about the city slipping in the rankings. What I would like to see is a renewed focus on sanitation. Chandigarh is still much better than other cities, as it is already open defecation-free. I hope other cities, too, look like Chandigarh,” he said.
In a meeting of the home minister’s advisory committee in July this year, Rajnath Singh had asked UT officers to look for alternative modes of transport in the city, stating that the Metro project was not viable.
MP Kirron Kher had already opposed the project, saying the residents did not want the city to be uprooted. Also it involves a huge budget and is not financially viable, the MP had said, while suggesting the construction of a ring road to solve the problem of traffic congestion.
Delay has escalated cost
Work on the first phase was scheduled to start in 2013. Due to delay, the project cost has escalated. According to the revised DPR prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, 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 Union government had last month come out with a new metro policy, wherein it will approve and aid metro rail projects only if they have private participation and ensure last-mile connectivity for users. Under the new policy, states will get powers to make rules and regulations and set up permanent fare fixation authorities.