Feasibility of Metro Rail for Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali Corridor yet to be assessed

Mega project hits several roadblocks even before preparation of DPR

विजयवाड़ा Vijayawada (BZA): The city of victory – Vijayawada – is heading to have a rail-based Mass Rapid Transit System, if the hurried move to implement the metro rail project is an indication.

Though the State government is keen to pump more than Rs.14,700 crore for metro rail project in a stretch of 49 km in the next six to seven years, its viability is a billion dollar question.

The Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali-Mangalagiri Urban Development Authority (VGTMUDA) hasn’t received any expression of interest (EOI) application so far to carry out the feasibility study for the mega project, which is mandatory before the preparation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR). The last date for receiving the EOI is September 1 and the UDA would spend Rs. 25 crore on the DPR preparation.

Further, the passenger mobility criteria have emerged as another issue for the project to be materialised.

BZA Metro“The urban mobility has to be more than 15,000 per hour, if the project has to be successful. But, the fact is the mobility is less than 2,000 per hour in Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali circuit and it is in the range of 2,500 to 3,000 per hour in Gannavaram-Gollapudi corridor. These two corridors are slated for phase-1,” UDA sources say.

“Going by the experience in Hyderabad,” UDA sources say, “the government would have to spend Rs.300 crore per km to lay an elevated corridor for metro rail.”

Meanwhile, the question in the minds of people is as to why the government has chosen to implement the project between Gannavaram – Gollapudi and Kankipadu – Vijayawada, if the capital is to come up between Vijayawada and Guntur.

The reasons cited by the government are that there is a need to develop urban transport system as the capital would be located between Vijayawada and Guntur and the metro rail is incorporated in the AP Reorganisation Act.

CPI (M) city secretary Ch.Babu Rao said that though the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) has spent crores of rupees on the BRTS project, it is yet to see the light.

“Going by this experience, the government has to prepare a comprehensive plan for development of the region,” he said.

It may be noted that the BRTS project is in limbo, even after the VMC has spent more than Rs.80 crore.

The Union government has already asked the corporation to refund the funds released for it.

However, Urban Planning experts from top Consultancy Firms have cautioned on the rapid urbanization for Vijayawada and Guntur in the next 10 years and indicated that Vijayawada and Guntur to cross even Pune and Coimbatore in terms of investments and infrastructure development  – mostly from the manufacturing sector due to high availability of qualified manpower compared to other parts of the country which is an indicative for proper planning of future transportation requirements in this particular geography in mind.