Former Prl.Secy I.P.Gautam likely to be Chairman of Ahmedabad Metro

08-3Ahmedabad:  The ambitious Rs.22,000 crore Ahmedabad metro rail project is expected to get a new boss within the next couple of days. The project, which is at a crucial stage of implementation, saw chairman Sanjay Gupta resign in order to invest time in his business initiatives.

There is a lot of speculation regarding who would now head the Ahmedabad Metro. I P Gautam, who recently retired as the principal secretary, urban development, is reported to be among the front-runners. Gautam was on the board of directors of Ahmedabad metro project and executed JNNURM-driven Bus Rapid Transit System, Sabarmati Riverfront and Kankaria Lakefront projects in Ahmedabad.

“There will be no impact on the metro rail project. People come and go, but a robust organisation continues to sustain itself. In a day or two, the state government will appoint a new executive chairman,” said a member of the board of directors of MEGA (Metro Link Express for Gandhinagar & Ahmedabad Company Ltd), a special purpose vehicle floated by the state government for implementing the project.

Gupta quit the project at a time when the work for the first phase, conceived in 2005, was about to start. However, the project had achieved financial closure for the first phase before Gupta decided to resign.

A consortium of 10 public sector banks, led by the Punjab National Bank, has sanctioned Rs 4,700 crore. Out of this amount, Rs 3,100 crore is meant for Phase-IA, covering 31 km and 23 stations between Motera and Memco, said a release from MEGA on Friday before the news of Gupta’s resignation was made public. Punjab and Sind Bank, Union Bank, Vijaya Bank, Corporation Bank, Allahabad Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, UCO Bank, United Bank and Syndicate Bank are the other members of the consortium.

The equity component of Phase-IA is expected to be Rs 4,292 crore which will be infused primarily by the state and Central governments. “The banks have already agreed in principle to sanction the debt component of Rs 3,890 crore for Phase-IB. The equity component of Phase-IB stands at Rs 5,835 crore,” the MEGA release further said.

“The project is on fast track with core infrastructure work beginning in October 2013. Utility shifting work on the full alignment, development of casting yard is in progress. Preliminary surveys such as topographical survey, soil investigation survey, detection of underground utility have been completed. Traffic demand assessment on the entire network has been completed. Monopile test for finalising load for substructure has been conducted,” added the release.

The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by 2017. The salient features of the project are driverless train and single monopile structure.