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Posted at: Nov 15, 2017, 2:02 AM; last updated: Nov 15, 2017, 2:02 AM (IST)11 YEARS ON, HOME MINISTRY’S ADVISORY COMMITTEE REJECTS PROJECT TERMING IT UNVIABLE

Bye-bye Metro

Estimated cost of project Rs 10,900cr | Proposed city track 37 km | Amount spent on DPR, survey Rs 1.5 cr
Bye-bye Metro

Ramkrishan Upadhyay

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14

Eleven years after spending crores of rupees on a study and a survey, the fate of the much-hyped Metro project has been sealed with the Home Minister’s Advisory Committee deciding that the project is not commercially viable for the city.

Sources said in the minutes of a meeting of the committee held on July 27 in Delhi under the chairmanship of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, which was attended by Punjab Governor and UT Administrator VP Singh Bandore and other members, it was mentioned that the matter had been deliberated upon at length and it was decided that the Metro project for Chandigarh was not commercially viable.

It has been further stated in the minutes that two studies indicated that the Metro rail was not a feasible proposal for the city. The sources said there was a detailed discussion on the Metro and a difference of opinion emerged between Sanjay Tandon, city BJP president, and Kirron Kher, Member of Parliament, at the meeting over the issue. While Tandon supported the Metro, Kher termed the project unviable.

Kher said the project was not required as residents would not benefit much from the Metro. She stressed the need for improving other modes of transport. On the other hand, Tandon said the city would have to take a decision keeping in mind the traffic congestion that would increase on roads in the next 20 years. 

Work on project started in 2006

The Metro project has been lingering on for over 11 years. The initial work on the Metro project was started in 2006. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) prepared a detailed project report (DPR) for it in 2012. According to the DPR, the initial project cost, including the land cost and taxes, was estimated to be around Rs 10,900 crore. A 37-km Metro track was proposed for the city while a track length of 7.8 km was planned for Punjab and 6.41 km for Panchkula. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also signed between Haryana, Punjab and the UT Administration, but the Ministry of Urban Development has not given its approval for the project yet. After spending nearly Rs 1.5 crore on preparing the DPR and the survey, the Ministry of Urban Development has raised questions over its viability. 

"Considering the fact that 10,000 vehicles are added to city roads every three months, a good rapid mass transport system is essential.  The Metro will provide the best alternative. The planning should be made keeping in mind the requirement for next 30 years.” — Pawan Kumar Bansal, former Union Minister

"In my view, the project is commercially unviable for a small city like Chandigarh as a huge amount is required to run it. Instead of the Metro, we should opt for other modes of public transport on which the Administration is working." — Kirron Kher, MP

"The Metro will become a necessity in the future. There won’t be enough space for parking and congestion on roads will increase. In such a scenario, the only option is the Metro. The Metro will become financially viable in the future. I will raise the issue at the next meeting for a relook." — Sanjay Tandon, city BJP chief

"I was also present at the meeting. There were divergent views on the Metro, but no such decision like terming the Metro unviable was taken. The city is suffering because of internal bickering in the BJP. The Metro project is the need of the tricity. " — Devinder Singh Babla, member, HM’s Advisory Committee

Metro need of the future

The Metro is the need of the future as it will help reduce pollution and congestion on roads. The government must reconsider its decision and revive the project. The Metro will not only help city residents but also provide a better mode of transport to people living in the surrounding areas.— Harmohan Dhawan, former Union Minister

There is a strong need for the Metro in the city. Traffic jams have become routine. One can well imagine what will happen in the next 20 years. Keeping this in mind, the UPA government brought the project, but the BJP government has scrapped it, which is unfortunate. —Pardeep Chhabra, city Cong chief

Since I am not a member of the committee, I have no idea what transpired at the meeting, but personally I am in favour of the Metro as it will provide a fast and easy mode of transport to thousands of people coming daily from surrounding areas such as Baddi, Kharar,  Kurali and Dera Bassi. The Metro project should not be shelved — Satya Pal Jain, former MP


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