Cabinet approves $1.4 billion new Metro Rail project for Nagpur

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  The cabinet approved on Wednesday a new, 86.8-billion-rupee ($1.43 billion) metro rail project in the western state of Maharashtra, the government said in a statement.

Nagpur is the latest city in the country that will have Metro rail service with the Union Cabinet today clearing the modern transportation project that is estimated to cost INR 8,680 crore and connect an SEZ with key areas of the city.

The go-ahead for the Nagpur rail project comes weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi permitted foreign investment in railways as part of his efforts to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure for an economic turnaround.

Analysts reckon India’s poor infrastructure shaves off as much as 2 percentage points from its gross domestic product.

Modi swept to power in May on a promise to revamp the creaking railway system, focusing on high-speed trains, as well as road and airport building.

Congress play Politics

A day after it emerged that all Congress chief ministers were likely to skip events involving Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday refused to attend an event scheduled in Nagpur today (Thursday).

Modi is scheduled lay the foundation stone of the proposed Nagpur Metro, the Pardi Grid Metro, the Mouda Super Thermal Power Project Phase I and a flyover on National Highway 6.

Chavan, however, has not only refused to attend the functions, but has also declared that the prime minister will not be invited for the ‘groundbreaking ceremony’ for Mumbai Metro’s phase III, scheduled to be held in two days’ time.

The Nagpur Metro was cleared by the Centre on Wednesday, and Chavan received an invite for the function the same afternoon. He sent a message of thanks to the Centre, but indicated that he wouldn’t attend the programme. “I have taken a decision based on what happened the last time around,” he said, referring to his heckling by the BJP workers at a function attended by Modi in Raigad. On Tuesday, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had a similar experience, when he was heckled by BJP activists shouting pro-Modi slogans at a function in Kaithal. Later, Hooda declared that he would not attend any function attended by Modi.

Chavan also accused the BJP of creating a divide between Pune and Nagpur, saying the proposal to launch a metro in Pune was sent to the Centre in October 2013, which the current regime has been ignoring, but it was quick to clear the Nagpur metro, which was forwarded three months later. The chief minister said that Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, who is from Nagpur, had been pushing for the metro in his hometown while ignoring the Pune proposal. “Such step-motherly treatment to one city isn’t good,” Chavan said.

However BJP’s official spokesperson said that the two proposals were received but in case of Pune Metro, the proposal needed some sort of corrections and hence it got delayed.  Centre is giving equal status and push to both Nagpur and Pune and hence there is no need of making politics by Congress, he added.