Nagpur Metro

3 Months on, Mantralaya Metro Phase II program pending

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In January 2019, Nagpur Metro’s Phase II was cleared by the state cabinet and it was expected to be approved by the Union cabinet in March 2019. Yet the plan has yet to hit the cabinet of the Union.

An official at MahaMetro said the reason for the delay was a change in the Union Ministry for Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) standards. “After a detailed study some months ago, MoHUA determined that Metro light coaches should be used for cities of tier II and tier III. This is because Metros do not have a lot of ridership in middle-sized areas. MoHUA asked us to update the Nagpur Metro Phase II plan in compliance with new norms, “he added.

Light Metro coaches are less than a standard Metro foot long. Instead of 1000, they will carry 750 passengers. These coaches are capable of carrying 24,000 passengers per hour, while the capacity of regular Metro is 30,000 passengers per hour. Their weight is 12 tonnes, instead of the usual 16 tonnes. Accordingly, they cost less.

“We told MoHUA officials that we intended to use the current Metro’s coaches for four corridors— Automotive Square to Kamptee, Prajapati Nagar to Nagar Transport, Khapri to Butibori and Lokmanya Nagar to Hingna Tehsil office. They asked us to spur on to Dattawadi using Metro light coaches for Wasudeo Nagar. We revised our project accordingly and submitted it to the Department of State Urban Development. It’s been there for three months. MoHUA officials have ensured the proposal will be clear as soon as it is received from the department, “the official said.

The cost of Phase II as per the comprehensive project report (DPR) was Rs11,612 Crore. Now, Rs650 Crore has high it to Rs10,962 Crore.

Some analysts believe Phase I Metro ridership won’t rise dramatically until Phase II is operational. This is because people travel regularly via public transport to places linked by Phase II, such as Kamptee and Butibori. Instead of buses, they’ll use Metro. Phase I was conceived thinking Mihan is going to employ thousands of people. Mihan has yet to take off though.

Devendra Fadnavis, the BJP leader was chief minister until September. One might have expected speedy Mantralaya clearance of Phase II when he was in the helm. Now, Eknath Shinde of Shiv Sena is the minister of urban development and local ministers will have to press him to clear the project immediately.

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