Nagpur Metro|Financiers expresses dissatisfaction over delay in sanction of increased FSI

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Nagpur Work on one stretch of Nagpur metro rail has already started and tender for the second one will be floated in a day or two. Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (NMRCL) is soon going to need money for paying the contractors. The state urban development department seems oblivious of the fact as it is taking its own time in approving a proposal that will open up a revenue stream for NMRCL, Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) and Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC).

It has not yet okayed hike in FSI along the corridors the premium charges on which are expected to part finance the metro project. Sources said the delay was specially inexplicable because the department was headed by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is from Nagpur and fully aware of the problem. European Investment Bank (EIB), Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) and German financial agency KfW have shown interest in funding the project. Officials of all three agencies have expressed dissatisfaction over delay in sanction of increased FSI. Many metro rail projects have witnessed huge cost escalations due to red tape.

Sources in NMRCL said the officials had a difficult time explaining the delay. “The UD ministry was apprised of this fact but so far there has been no impact,” a source said.

The civic agencies have proposed to increase the FSI up to 4 along the metro rail corridors. People wanting to utilize the increased FSI will have to pay a premium for it. Half the money will go to NMC and NIT (depending on the owner of the land) and remaining half to NMRCL. NMC has to bear 5% cost of the project. In case of cost escalation, the burden is likely to fall on NMC and NIT. Cash-strapped NMC is not in a position to bear its share. The only source for it is the premium from extra FSI.

While CM Fadnavis could not be contacted even after repeated attempts, Nitin Kareer, principal secretary (UD I), told that the proposal was under consideration of the department. “The proposal submitted by NMC is not consistent with international norms of transit oriented development (TOD). We are making the necessary changes and it will be approved soon,” he added.

Another department held by the CM is causing trouble for NMRCL. The special reserve police force (SRPF) is taking its own time in handing over its firing range. NMRCL needs the 26.7 acre land for its Lokmanya Nagar metro rail depot. It has been seeking this land since February. Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) had given land for the Mihan depot in February itself. NMRCL issued the work order for Mihan depot.

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