Assam government today said it was not hopeful of starting the ambitious Guwahati Metro Rail project in the near future. Informing the current status of the project in the Assam Assembly, Guwahati Development Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the state government has decided to trim the network proposed in the Detailed Project Report. The DPR, was prepared by the state under the previous Congress government but was not sent to the Centre for approval. The Congress governmment had laid the foundation stone of the project. “I’m not hopeful of the project. It will not happen soon. We do not even have the traffic movement study. In third or fourth year of our tenure, we may go to approval stage,” Sarma told the House.
Replying to the issue raised by Asom Gana Parishad’s Ramendra Narayan Kalita during Zero Hour, Sarma said the earlier government had awarded a Rs 6 crore contact to PSU firm RITES to prepare a DPR, which was approved by only the state cabinet. “For any metro rail project, we have to get Centre’s approval with traffic movement study. But in this case it was not done and the state went ahead with laying the foundation stone,” he added.
Sarma also said that the DPR proposed to construct a metro rail network in the state capital at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore, of which Rs 4,000 crore would be spent by the local government. “We discussed in the recent Cabinet meeting that we cannot spend that amount. So we decided to trim the network to have only the Dharapur-Narengi route and to study the possibility to have another track from the proposed AIIMS site to Jalukbari,” he added.
He also charged the previous Congress government of going ahead with the project by spending Rs 70-80 lakh on the foundation stone laying function without even having the loan sanctioned by the Centre or making alternate financial arrangements. On 29 February 2016, former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had laid the foundation stone of the project, which was proposed to be implemented by the Special Purpose Vehicle — Guwahati Metro Rail Corporation Limited. The total cost of the project was estimated to be Rs 18,020 crore and it was supposed to be implemented in different phases across the city.