Chandigarh: Hopes for having a metro rail project in Chandigarh and its periphery were revived here on Wednesday. Union minister of state for housing and urban affairs (independent charge) Hardeep Singh Puri said at a function in Sector 17 that the Centre was going to evaluate the proposal’s detailed project report (DPR) again.
The only difference will be that the Centre will make the new assessment on the basis of Metro Rail Policy-2017, which the Union Cabinet had approved on August 16 this year. Talking to journalists on the sidelines of a financial-inclusion camp at the Parade Ground in Sector 17 here, Puri said Centre had asked all states and UTs which had prepared DPRs for Metro rail projects, to submit fresh proposals for an evaluation under the new policy.
The project had suffered a major setback after the Union home minister advisory committee (HMAC) had termed the project unfeasible for Chandigarh in July this year. Members of the committee, which is headed by Union home minister Rajnath Singh, had asked the administration to look for alternatives to strengthen public transport.
In the past, Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher has also raised questions about the project’s viability. In the past few years, the administration has been making efforts to better public transportation. Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) buses ply on 75 routes with a waiting period for boarding a bus varying from 20 minutes to over one and half hours.
In the past few years, Chandigarh has witnessed a substantial increase in traffic. In the absence of an efficient public transport system, residents prefer two-wheelers and cars, leading to congestion on the roads. A high volume of vehicles has also led to deterioration of air quality.
Chandigarh has the highest density of vehicles in India, with around 12 lakh registered vehicles, including two-wheelers and four-wheelers. The number of vehicles is over two per house.
As per the revised detailed project report prepared by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, the project will cost Rs 13,600 crore, of which Chandigarh will have to chip in with around Rs 5,000 crore, while the remaining amount is to be shared by the state governments of Punjab and Haryana. The total length of the project covering Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula is 37.57 km. A majority of the two corridors falls in Chandigarh. In June 2015, Chandigarh, Haryana and Punjab had signed a memorandum of understanding for the formation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for execution of project.