Finally, tricity gets Metro on track

Chandigarh, July 9

In the first crucial step towards the proposed integrated multi-modal mass transport system for the Chandigarh region, comprising Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, the three stakeholders – Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana — today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to implement commuter-transit projects. The MoU has been signed almost nine years after the Chandigarh Administration started exploring the Metro option for the city. In 2012, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) submitted a detailed project report on the integrated mass transport system for the tricity. The MoU is now being forwarded to the Ministry of Urban Development — one of the stakeholders — for action. “The next step will be to work out the modalities for funding the project through a combination of debt, equity and public-private partnership,” said a senior official. Apart from the Metro, the other components in the transport system are the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) and the commuter rail system, and its linkage to nearby towns to meet the travel needs of commuters. As part of the MoU, the three stakeholders also named the special purpose vehicle (SPV) to execute the project as the Greater Chandigarh Transport Corporation (GCTC) for the development of comprehensive integrated multi-modal urban and sub-urban commuter system for the region. The initial equity of the GCTC shall be Rs 100 crore, which will be contributed equally — 25 per cent each — by the Union Ministry of Urban Development, the UT Administration, Haryana and Punjab. UT Adviser Vijay Kumar Dev said, “It was a historic day for Chandigarh. The MoU has laid the foundation and it will help preserve the heritage of the city by easing traffic on roads and reducing pollution. The GCTC will roll out the Metro after approval from the ministry. Subsequently, other multi-modal systems will also open.” In the presence of Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, who also holds the additional charge of Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, the MoU was signed by the Additional Chief Secretary, Haryana Town and Country Planning Department, P Raghavendra Rao, the Secretary, Town and Planning, Punjab, A Venu Prasad, and the UT Adviser, Vijay Kumar Dev. Cost escalation Due to a delay in the implementation of the project, the estimated cost of Metro (one of the important components in the integrated transport system) has risen from the initial Rs 10,900 crore to Rs 15,000 crore. “From signing of the MoU to starting work on the ground, it is a long way to go. The cost will further rise by the time the project is implemented,” said an official. UT started exploring Metro in 2006 In 2006, the Centre rejected the Chandigarh monorail project and told the UT to explore the Metro. In 2008, RITES was asked to prepare a feasibility report and in 2012, the DMRC submitted a detailed project report suggesting that Chandigarh should have an inter-state metropolitan regional plan to guide traffic. A welcome step, says Kirron It is a welcome step. I never opposed the project, but only questioned its viability. It is still in the preliminary stage. Residents have to be ready to face inconvenience as building a huge infrastructure takes a long time, as seen in Delhi — Kirron Kher, MP