VIJAYAWADA (Metro Rail News): Despite provisional allocations in the recent budget, the fate of Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam metro rail projects still remains uncertain as the YSR Congress regime is yet to announce its policy concerning them.
While both the projects are put on the back-burner for the moment, a decision regarding their implementation is expected soon.
In the budget, the State government proposed an allocation of Rs 10 crore towards urban development assistance to both the projects, while another Rs 3.6 crore was earmarked for Amaravati metro rail.“A provisional allocation has been made, but we haven’t received any information on how the State government wants to proceed with the execution. As of now, things have been put on hold as a policy decision is awaited,” a senior official source explained.
Even a meeting scheduled with Systra Group, which is preparing detailed project reports of the proposed rapid transit systems, stands postponed, the official added.
With the Korea Export-Import Bank (KEXIM) backing off from extending financial assistance for the Visakhapatnam project, the officials are left in the lurch, once again, to look for a funding agency. While they said they would approach other international borrowers, Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath’s proposition, in his budget speech, of going for a monorail in Visakhapatnam has further cast clouds on the proposed metro.
Sources in the MAUD department said the new government might go ahead with the projects only if Central funds could be tapped for their implementation. “The question is: are these projects, which in the present form are estimated to cost over Rs 15,000 crore each, really needed when the State is undergoing a financial crisis? The decision will be taken at a review meeting to be held soon,” another official explained.
For the record, even though the detailed project reports of both the metros were submitted long ago, the Centre, after introducing a revised metro rail policy in 2017, directed Andhra Pradesh to resubmit them.
However, the previous State government, reluctant to do so, had explored various PPP models.
With the Centre repeatedly mentioning that the State did not submit the DPRs, the Amaravati Metro Rail Corporation had planned to send fresh proposals.