The Guwahati Metro is a rapid transit proposed for the city of Guwahati, Assam. The system plan consists of 4 corridors covering a distance of 61.42 km in phase one of the Guwahati Metro. On 11 January 2013, former Chief Minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi held discussions with officials of the Guwahati Development Department and Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority, in which after detailed deliberations it was agreed that there was a need to urgently take up the study of introducing a metro rail and bus rapid transit system in the city to arrest the chaotic traffic condition on the streets.
The survey of the proposed project included preliminary exercises such as a study of the number of commuters in different areas of the city at different times of the day and a calculation of the estimated cost of the project. The survey conducted a track-type feasibility study at different places. Three types were considered: underground track, overground track, an elevated track. The Khanapara – Jalukbari route was proposed to have overground and elevated tracks because this route is not congested. The other two routes were to have a combination of underground and elevated tracks. The contract to make a feasibility report and prepare a detailed project report was awarded to M/S Rites in June 2014. However, it was suggested that elevated tracks will be most viable in Guwahati because they are cheaper and can boost tourism potential.
Operational : 0 Km
Under Construction : 0 Km
Proposed: 61.4 Km
Phase 1 Routes
Line 1 : Dharapur – Narangi
Length : 22.6 km
Number of Stations: 22
Line 2 : MG Road – Khanapara
Length: 10 km
Number of Stations: 10
Line 3 : Jalukbari – Khanapara
Length: 19.4 km
Number of Stations: 14
Line 4 : ISBT – Paltan Bazar
Length: 9.4 km
Number of Stations: 8
Additional potential lines being explored:
- Dharapur – Guwahati Airport
- North Guwahati – AIIMS
Guwahati Metro is a 61.40 km urban Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) with 4 lines and 54 stations proposed to be built in Guwahati, Assam. Guwahati Metro Phase 1 project’s Feasibility Report and Detailed Project Report (DPR) was prepared by RITES in January 2016. On February 26, 2016, this DPR and the formation of Guwahati Metro Rail Corporation Limited (GMRCL), to execute the project, were approved by Assam’s state government.
In January 2017, the new government’s state cabinet reviewed the project and suggested modifying the DPR with additional lines connecting Dharapur with Guwahati Airport and North Guwahati with AIIMS in Phase 1 itself. As of March 2020, RITES has been tasked with preparing a Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) & Alternative Analysis (AA) Report for Guwahati. After the approval of these reports, Guwahati Metro’s DPR will be modified and finalized accordingly.
Guwahati Metropolitan Development Department (GMDA) revealed that a new Metro Rail Policy was introduced by the Centre in 2017, which asked for a rigorous assessment of new metro proposals. States were required to adopt innovative mechanisms to mobilize resources for financing metro projects. The options for availing Central assistance include Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Central assistance under the Viability Gap Funding Scheme of the Ministry of Finance; grant by the Centre, under which 10% of the project cost would be given as a lump sum central assistance; and 50:50 equity sharing model between the Central and State governments. Under all these options, private participation, however, was mandatory.
The Feasibility Report for Guwahati Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS) was completed by the Rail India Technical and Economic Service Limited (RITES) in March 2015, for a total corridor length of 203 km in three phases and a complete DPR (Phase-I) for a total length of 62.95 km in January 2016. The State Cabinet, on February 2, 2016, approved the DPR (Phase-I) for MRTS and the State-owned Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) namely Guwahati Metro Rail Corporation Limited, to carry forward the implementation of rail-based MRTS for Guwahati city.
DPR for Phase-I was prepared for a total length of 61.4 km. Phase-I would have 4 corridors:
Corridor-1: Dharapur– Narangi (Elevated) = 22.6 kms
Corridor-2: MG Road to Khanapara (Underground) = 10.0 kms
Corridor-3: Jalukbari to Khanapara (Elevated) = 19.4 kms
Corridor-4: ISBT to Paltan Bazar (Elevated) = 9.4 kms
The DPR was sent to the Union Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) in May 2016. The MoUD advised the State government to resubmit the proposal along with an updated Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP). The State Cabinet in January 2017, suggested some changes and asked GMDA to recast the DPR (Phase-I) for Rail-based MRTS. The Government also instructed the GMDA to prepare the DPR for additional metro corridors from Dharapur to Guwahati Airport and Jalukbari to North Guwahati.
Meanwhile, the Government of India adopted the Metro Rail Policy, 2017, and advised the states to submit MRTS proposals accordingly. As per the new policy, the project DPR required Alternative Analysis (AA). In the case of Guwahati, a CMP was also required. On approval of the Government of Assam, RITES was handed over the preparation work of the CMP and AA Report for Guwahati on a nomination basis, which is for the CMP at Rs 1.25 crores (excluding taxes) and AA reports at Rs 35.00 lakhs (excluding taxes). The timeline for CMP was 4 months and the AA report was 2 months.
During the review meeting of the presentation of the inception report of the CMP, held on December 2018 under the Chairmanship of the Principal Secretary of Guwahati Development Department (GDD), RITES was enquired by the Principal Secretary of GDD about the inclusion of a traffic impact study from Assam State Capital Region Development Authority (ASCRDA) region in the present scope of CMP and was asked to submit proposal and cost implications for the study. The ASCRDA area is approximately 6,100 sq km, covering five districts namely Kamrup Metropolitan, Kamrup, Nalbari, Darrang, and Morigaon. RITES said that since the traffic study for the CMP is for the Guwahati Metro Region, the inclusion of the traffic impact study from the ASCRDA area can be done at a very reasonable rate and time.
RITES submitted the final CMP and AA report in 2018, but since then the State government has not yet decided on any further course of action on the project. It needs to be mentioned that metro projects are highly capital intensive and therefore need to be justified on several grounds. The viability of the metro has to be ascertained from all aspects. Social benefits, financial viability, growth of the city, commuting issues, and various other factors needed for easy commuting of the metro system must be taken into consideration. It has been 5 years now and the GDD Department has not done enough to start the project, which makes the metro rail in Guwahati a distant dream. However, it must be noted that if the population of Guwahati has reached 20 lakhs, it is the right time to plan for a metro system for the city. At least 5 to 6 years are required for getting the metro operational in a hilly and picturesque area like Guwahati. Nevertheless, it is beyond doubt that the ‘Gateway to North-East India’ deserves to have a metro system.