The union finance ministry has reportedly given its approval for construction of five proposed metro projects in Indore, Bhopal, Kanpur, Agra, and Delhi at an estimated cost of Rs 1.07 lakh crore, Hindustan Times reported. The Centre has also given its nod for the Rs 32,000 crore Delhi-Meerut corridor of the proposed Rapid Rail Transit System. The approval comes at a time when cities across the country are clamouring for metro rail projects.
The 'in-principle' approval from the ministry is only the beginning of a series of clearances that have to be taken before a final go-ahead is granted. "These projects will now go to the finance ministry's Public Investment Board (PIB) for approval. After PIB clearance, the projects will go to the Union cabinet," the report said qoting an official.
For the national capital Delhi, three corridors of phase four of the metro, with a total length of 61.66km and an estimated cost of Rs 29,000 crore, have been approved, another official of the union housing and urban affairs ministry told the daily.
"The total length of the two corridors of the Kanpur metro rail project is 32.38km and the completion cost, excluding the land cost and state taxes, is Rs 16,192 crore. The length of the Agra stretch of the metro, which will also have two corridors, is 30km and the completion cost is Rs 12,253 crore," the report cited a senior official of the UP state urban development department.
With eyes on upcoming state polls, the two of the other metro projects that got the 'in-principle' nod are in Madhya Pradesh. The proposed length of the Indore project is 104.25km and the estimated cost is Rs 26,762 crore while the length of the Bhopal metro is 95.03km and the estimated cost is Rs 22,504.25, it said.
In August last year, the government approved a new metro rail policy which opened a big window for private investments across a range of operations, making PPP component mandatory for availing central assistance. Besides making provisions that commit states to provide last mile connectivity, the new policy also pitched for alternatives where investing in a metro project would not be feasible.
The policy offers three options to states for availing central assistance. These include; PPP with central assistance under the Viability Gap Funding scheme of the Ministry of Finance, Grant by Government of India under which 10 per cent of the project cost will be given as lump sum central assistance and 50:50 Equity sharing model between central and state governments. Under all these options, private participation, however, is mandatory.
To provide last mile connectivity for commuters, the new policy focuses on a catchment area of 5 km on either side of metro stations which requires states to commit in project reports to provide necessary last mile connectivity through feeder services, walking and cycling pathways.