Metro project hits code hurdle in Bhopal

BHOPAL: Light metro project in Bhopal is still a distant dream. Already delayed, ever since it was first announced in 2010, company for the project conceived on public–private partnership (PPP) is yet to be constituted. Meanwhile, model code of conduct in effect for civic polls has yet again put the Bhopal-Indore light metro project in cold storage.

This is the third time in two years when poll code has hit light metro project under the mass rapid transit system (MRTS).

Proposal for constitution of a company on PPP mode was to be placed before the cabinet for approval in December. However, the proposal could not be introduced in the recently concluded cabinet meeting held last week due to poll code.

In 2013 and 2014 too, due to assembly and parliamentary elections, the metro project was delayed by more than five months when the inception report could not be cleared by the cabinet.

OSD urban administration and development department (UADD) and project in charge Kamal Nagar told TOI, “We have already submitted the proposal for constitution of a company before the cabinet after which the final detailed project report (DPR) would be approved by the Union government and based on that, funds will be released followed by hiring of a consultant for the project.”

Sources in UADD said, the PPP company is being tentatively called MP Metro Rail Corporation but a final name would be decided by the cabinet along with the chief executive and managing director (CMD) of the company, whether it would be headed by an IAS officer or a technical expert like ‘Metro Man’, E Sreedharan.

Project was mooted by then UADD minister Babulal Gaur in 2010 but it was delayed over preliminary survey. The DPR was to be based on it.

Initially the Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC) conducted the inception survey in 2012 which was later scrapped by state government as the UPA government was at the Centre and state didn’t want Centre’s interference in the project. Thereafter, a new feasibility survey began in 2012. This survey in fact should have started in 2010 and was to be completed in 2011.

The proposed project will be around 80 kms in Bhopal at an estimated cost of Rs 21,000 crores. While 20% cost will be borne by the state government and Centre each, 60% will come from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and other financial institutions.

Recently the UADD minister Kailash Vijayvargiya said the proposed light metro rail system in Indore and Bhopal cities would be launched before 2018. The project is expected to be completed by 2021.


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