Uttar Pradesh is on the cusp of change as far as urban transport is concerned. With the problem of traffic congestion getting worse by the day, the state government has gone on overdrive, aiming to get as many as six new Metro projects off the ground soon. While the revised detailed project reports (DPRs) for metros in three cities — Kanpur, Agra and Meerut — have been cleared and forwarded to the Union housing and urban affairs ministry for approval, the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC), the nodal agency for the state’s Metro projects, is putting the finishing touches to blueprints for projects in Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Allahabad.
As is known, Varanasi is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency, Kanpur is the hometown of President Ram Nath Kovind and Gorakhpur, the hometown of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The Centre had earlier returned the DPRs for these projects, asking the state government to re-evaluate them in light of the Metro Rail Policy 2017. The LMRC has since revised the DPRs for the Kanpur, Agra and Meerut projects. “The UP government dispatched the DPRs to the Centre in January and we expect to have the approval anytime soon,” says LMRC Managing Director Kumar Keshav. LMRC’s Principal Advisor E Sreedharan assured Yogi Adityanath recently that the revised DPRs for the Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Allahabad projects would be submitted to the state government soon.
“After the DPR is cleared by the state cabinet, it would be forwarded to the Centre for approval, since these are joint venture projects. The state and central governments contribute 20% each, while we would be taking a loan to meet the remaining costs. For the Kanpur project, we are in talks with the European Investment Bank and JICA and hope to seal the deal after getting the Centre’s nod,” says Keshav.
Explaining the rationale behind the state’s ambitious Metro agenda, he points out that the National Urban Transport Policy mandates all cities with a 2-million-plus population having an efficient public transport system. “Except for Gorakhpur, these cities have crossed the 2 million mark. By the time the project is implemented, Gorakhpur too would have met the criterion,” he says.
The Kanpur Metro project was inaugurated in October, 2016. Its two corridors, comprising a total length of 32.38 km, are expected to be complete by 2024 and would cost `16,975 crore. The tender for its first stretch of 9 km was floated last month.
Like in Kanpur, the Agra and Meerut projects would have two corridors each. While the total length of the Agra Metro would be 30 km, Meerut’s would be 32.95 km. “The Agra project would cost Rs 12,901 crore and the Meerut project, Rs 13,791 crore. Both are expected to be complete by 2024,” says Keshav.
The UP government earmarked Rs 100 crore in this year’s Budget for Metro projects in Gorakhpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Jhansi and Meerut and another `150 crore for the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation.