Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami today alleged that the previous DMK government delayed the Metro Rail project when it was in power. “When Metro Rail project was approved by the Government of India at a cost of Rs 14,600 crore, the DMK was in power between 2006-11, but spent only Rs 1,143 crore,” he said. The chief minister was speaking after flagging off the first underground Metro Rail service between Thirumangalam and Nehru Park here. Palaniswami said that from June 2011 to April 2017, the AIADMK government had spent nearly Rs 13,787 crore on the projects. “The government has been allocating sufficient funds for Metro Rail project every year and has been taking adequate steps to complete the project on schedule,” he said.
Construction work on the next sector from Nehru Park to Chennai Central was going on at a “steady pace”, he said. “Work for 34.3 km underground rail connectivity has been completed of the total of 36.4 km (in the first phase of Metro Rail service),” he said. Phase 1 has a total length of 45 km.
The chief minister also sought Central government’s approval for the 107.55-km second phase. This phase comprises three corridors; Madhavaram-Siruseri (44 km), Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus-Light House (15.7 km and Madhavaram-Sholinganallur (44.6.km) “The government has given its policy level approval for these extensions for the project that is estimated at Rs 85,047 crore,” he said. The chief minister also sought the Centre’s approval for the third phase, saying Chennai was expanding rapidly.
Responding to his request, Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, who flagged off the first underground train service here, said his Ministry would look into it. “I understand they (Tamil Nadu government) are requesting for extension of Phase III (Metro Rail project). I can assure you that it will be examined by the officers, who have already come here for discussions,” he said.
“I have no problem, what is possible, what is feasible that will be done I assure you,” Naidu said. He requested Chennai Metro Rail officials to expedite the remaining work under Phase I. “I would also like to request the Tamil Nadu government to extend full support for completion of Phase I. We are willing to support Phase II extension of Metro Rail project also,” he said.