Centre to fast-track the Srinagar Metro Rail project

SRINAGAR: In order to bring in fast-paced infrastructure development and employment generation immediately after the reorganisation of J&K as a Union Territory, the Centre has decided to fast-track the Valley’s first Metro project by recruiting over 1,300 personnel.

The workforce to be hired will include graduates and professionals with degrees in architecture, civil engineering, signal electronics, traffic management and telecommunications, a source privy to the development said.

The move comes barely months before the Centre is likely to hold the Valley’s first-ever investors’ summit in September-October on the pattern of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Karnataka.

The Light Metro Corridor, which will run 25km in two sub-corridors — Indira Nagar to HMT Junction and Hazuribagh to Osmanabad — through Srinagar, is to be built at a cost of Rs5,108 crore. On July 4, J&K governor Satya Pal Malik had announced that work on the project would start soon.

While the Centre will fund 21.2% of the cost of the project, J&K government will invest an equal amount and the rest will be financed by commercial banks under a special purpose vehicle (SPV). The first tender for the civil works will be released by the end of this month.

The Centre has already appointed infrastructure development enterprise RITES as the nodal agency to complete the project.

Though for the first five years, after the completion of the project, the government expects a revenue of over Rs 146 crore per annum, it will eventually be able to mop up Rs1,200 crore annually.

“Revenue for the Srinagar Metro will mainly consist of fare box collection and non-fare box sources such as property development, advertisement, parking, taxes etc.,” says the detailed project report (DPR) of Srinagar Metro. The report also says that the Metro fare will not exceed 1.5 times that of the existing bus fare in the city.

“We have included a national transit-oriented development policy for this corridor. This policy integrates land use and transport planning to develop sustainable urban growth, high density mixed land use and employment,” the report says.

The Centre has also included an alignment plan of about 72 buildings and 92 families that may be affected during the completion of the project.