By Nayan dave
Public transport in Ahmedabad and Surat, Gujarat’s two important business centres, got a much-needed boost when work got underway for the Surat Metro rail and the second phase of the Ahmedabad Metro rail project last month. Being developed as part of an integrated transportation system, the two projects are expected to be complete by the end of 2024.
The Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation Limited (GMRC), a 50:50 special purpose vehicle (SPV) of the Union and state governments, is the implementing agency for the Rs 30,000-crore projects being executed in Gujarat’s commercial capital Ahmedabad and diamond city Surat.
“The Metro projects in Ahmedabad and Surat will not only boost their economies, but also bring about a qualitative change in the way people commute within the cities. These projects would also enhance the floating population in the two cities, which contributes immensely in the overall development of the state,” says Manojkumar Das, additional chief secretary to the Gujarat chief minister.
The 28.3-km Phase-II of the Ahmedabad Metro project would link the newer areas of the city as well as parts of Gujarat’s administrative capital Gandhinagar. It comprises two corridors: Corridor-1, completely elevated, would extend from Motera Stadium to Mahatma Mandir (22.8 km) while Corridor-2 (5.4 km) would run from Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) to Gujarat International Finance-Tec City (GIFT City).
Work on the 40-km-long Phase-I of the Ahmedabad Metro project, which covers major parts of the old city, is in full swing and it is expected to be operational by the end of 2022, says S S Rathore, MD, GMRC. A 6.5-km stretch connecting Vastral station to Apparel Park in the eastern part of the city has been operational since March 2019. Phase-I comprises two corridors: the north-south corridor runs from APMC to Motera (18.87 km) while the east-west corridor extends from Vastral station in the east to Thaltej in western Ahmedabad (21.16 km).
Taken together, the two phases of the Ahmedabad Metro project would benefit a population of 62.6 lakh of the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar agglomeration.
While the overall cost of the two-phase (69 km) Ahmedabad project was estimated at Rs 16,000 crore, delays due to Covid-19 and other reasons has seen it escalate to more than Rs 18,000 crore. The Japan International Cooperation Agency has extended a soft loan of Rs 6,066 crore for the project.
As for the Surat Metro project, work has kicked off in less than two years of approval from the government of India. Rathore highlights that the tendering process for the 40.35-km project, as also the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Social Impact Assessment (SIA), was completed well ahead of the groundbreaking ceremony.
The Rs 12,000-crore Surat Metro project would have two corridors. Corridor-1, from Sarthana to Dream City and comprising 14 elevated and 6 underground stations, would be 21.61 km long. Corridor-2 would extend from Bhesan to Saroli and comprise 18 elevated stations. It would be 18.74 km in length.
The French Development Agency, a public financial institution that implements policy defined by the French government, would be lending 250 million Euros or around Rs 2,300 crore for the project.
Besides the Metro projects in Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar and Surat, the state government is planning to develop infrastructure for mono-light metro rail in other major cities of Gujarat through the GMRC, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said at the ground-breaking ceremony last month.