With a Rs 5,552-crore loan from EIB in its kitty, the UP govt is burning midnight oil to commission the first stretch of Rs 11,076-cr project by the end of next year
The urgency with which the project is being implemented is linked to Kanpur's dire need for a modern and efficient public transport system.
The identity of Kanpur has for long vacillated between being known as the ‘Manchester of the East’ and the ‘Dying City of the North’. Not anymore. With the Kanpur Metro set to be a reality soon, it’s time for
Kanpur, one of the most populous cities in India and the largest one in Uttar Pradesh, to shed its old identities and assume the avatar of a ‘smart city’.
Paving the way for its speedy implementation, the European Investment Bank (EIB) recently sanctioned a loan of Rs 5,551.99 cr (Euro 650 million) for the Rs 11,076-crore Kanpur Metro project.
The Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRC), the nodal agency for the project, is burning the midnight oil to get it commissioned on time, especially as precious time was lost due to the lockdown imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
While the 31.4-km network comprising two corridors is scheduled to be ready by 2024, UPMRC is targetting commissioning its first stretch by the end of next year. Says Kumar Keshav, MD, UPMRC, “the stretch from IIT Kanpur to Moti Jheel has been selected as the ‘priority corridor’. Its total length would be approximately 8.7 km and it would consist of 9 elevated stations. Civil work on the priority section is in full swing and we are confident of commissioning commercial operations on this stretch by November 2021.” Trial runs for the purpose are expected to begin in July 2021.
In fact, in order to save time, the UPMRC has started erecting pre-cast double T-girders for the priority corridor. Given that double T-girders had never been used for preparing slabs of the concourse level of a Metro station, this marks a first for Metro projects in India.
Of the two corridors to be built, the IIT Kanpur to Naubasta line would be 23.8 km long and include an elevated section of 15.16 km and an underground stretch of 8.62 km. Of the total 22 stations on this corridor, 14 would be elevated while 8 would be underground. The second corridor, from Agriculture University to Barra8, would be 8.6 km in length and include 4.19 km of an elevated stretch and 4.41 km of an underground section. It would have 8 stations, four of which would be elevated and the rest underground.
In July this year, the UPMRC awarded the contract for supply, testing and commissioning of 201 cars (67 trains of three cars each) along with train control and signalling systems for the Kanpur and Agra Metro projects to Bombardier Transport India, setting a tight deadline of 65 weeks for the supply of the first train set from the company. A consortium led by Sterling & Wilson has won the Rs 419-crore electrification contract for the project.
The urgency with which the project is being implemented is linked to Kanpur’s dire need for a modern and efficient public transport system. With a population of over 41 lakh and 11.4 lakh registered vehicles in 2017, the city’s residents have to presently put up with traffic congestion, inadequate parking spaces and rising pollution levels.
According to the detailed project report (DPR) for the Metro project, the city’s population is expected to rise from 41.2 lakh in 2017 to 46.3 lakh in 2021, 56.9 lakh in 2031 and 65.8 lakh in 2041. Against this backdrop, total daily ridership in the year 2024, when Phase-1 of the network is proposed to be fully operational, is estimated at 9.4 lakh, going up to 10.8 lakh in 2031 and 13.5 lakh passengers in 2041.