Govt. yet to decide on proposed Gurgaon Metro Routes: V Umashankar

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation had suggested two routes for a Metro in Gurgaon—between Huda City Centre (HCC) and Dwarka Sector 21, and between HCC and Gurgaon railway station.

GURUGRAM: A decision on selecting one of the two proposed routes for the Metro in Gurgaon would be taken in the first meeting of Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) on January 20. The meeting, where a list of developmental projects are expected to be deliberated upon, will be chaired by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who is also the GMDA head.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had suggested two routes for a Metro in Gurgaon—one between Huda City Centre (HCC) and Dwarka Sector 21, and the other between HCC and Gurgaon railway station. A public feedback-taking exercise was also conducted by the GMDA on behalf of the state government to gauge public opinion in the matter.

V Umashankar, CEO of the GMDA, said that no decision has been taken by the state government on route finalization. “The GMDA, on its part, has forwarded the public feedback to the state government for its perusal,” he said.

“The Metro is one of the projects that will come up for discussion and the meeting (on January 20) will determine the next course of action,” another GMDA official said.

The reassurance comes at a time when unsubstantiated reports of the state government approving the HCC-Gurgaon railway station route, the less popular among the two routes, has led to resentment among residents.

“There have been reports indicating that the state government has approved the HCC-Gurgaon railway station route despite the popular vote going to the HCC-Dwarka Sector 21 route. If it is true, then the government would have completely ignored the public’s say in the matter. I find this step absurd and a waste of public time and money,” Nilesh Dayal, a resident of Nirvana Country, said.

Public feedback on the GMDA survey shows that 85% residents prefer a Metro line between HCC and Dwarka Sector 21, the state government is said to be in favour of the HCC-Gurgaon railway station route because of reservations about land jurisdiction, and the cost involved.

A section of the HCC-Dwarka Sector 21 Metro line, between Chauma railway crossing in Sector 111 and Bijwasan border, falls in the jurisdiction of the Northern Railways. The GMDA, in its report to the state government, had pointed out that this could become a hurdle in timely completion of the project as getting permission from the Railways would take time.

However, the GMDA report also offered a solution. It suggested a diversion in the route from Sector 23 towards Palam-Bijwasan road and subsequently towards Dwarka. This would allow the GMDA complete autonomy over the route in Gurgaon.

The catch could be in the cost. Building the 12-km HCC-Gurgaon railway station line, which covers Subhash Chowk, Rajiv Chowk and New Colony Mor, is estimated to cost Rs2,751 crore (with tax). This is almost half of the estimated cost of the 27.5-km Dwarka Sector 21 route at Rs5,491 crore (with tax).

The project is likely to be completed under a public-private partnership model.

Significantly, the state government officials have been raising questions about the ridership on HCC-Dwarka Sector 21 route. They say the commuter traffic may not be high enough since “the diplomatic enclave in Dwarka is yet to come up”.

But, the DMRC feasibility report states that by 2021, the HCC-Gurgaon railway station Metro line would have an expected daily ridership of around 86,000 passengers, with maximum people (approximately 20,000) boarding from Subhash Chowk.

In contrast, the HCC-Dwarka Sector 21 line is expected to have a daily ridership of 2.87 lakh passengers by 2021—this is almost three times that of the first line.