Jaipur Metro phase I may not be financially viable: UDH Ministry

Jaipur: Ahead of the inauguration of Jaipur Metro Phase 1, Urban Development and Housing (UDH) Minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat on Sunday said that the Metro route for phase IA (Mansarovar to Chandpole), as planned by the former Congress government, is not a feasible route for commuters and might not be financially viable. He said that a better Metro route could have been planned. However, he said the state government, by completing phase IB (Chandpole to Badi Chaupar) on time and providing every possible help to Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation (JMRC), will make it a viable project.

Jaipur Metro’s commercial run is to be flagged off by chief minister Vasundhara Raje on June 3.

Shehkawat, along with Jaipur mayor Nirmal Nahata and principal secretary, UDH, Ashok Jain, took a Metro ride for inspecting its safety parameters on Sunday. He was keen to know the facilities for the passengers and was concerned about their security.

After the ride, which he said was the first Metro ride of his life, the minister, addressing a press conference at Civil Lines railway station, said, “I have come to see if the Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation is abiding to all the 13 prerequisites suggested by commissioner, Metro rail safety. I can say that it would serve as smart and safe mode of transport.”

“But, I think a better route than this could have been planned. On this route, there are hardly any government offices and that won’t bring a passenger load on the train. I believe this won’t be a very viable route. Decisions on finalizing a route should be taken by technocrats not politicians,” he added.

Taking a dig at the previous Congress government, he said, “They had purchased a rolling stock much before and were more interested in their chief minister boarding the train than the public. But, we are keen to open it for public on June.”

“I feel, despite all that, our government will leave no stone unturned to make it a commercially viable project,” he said.

Shekhawat felt that the route starting from Sitapura and passing through JLN Marg and MI Road could have been a better option. “I think we can only make it financially viable by timely completing Phase IB from Chandpole to Badi Chaupar. During this process, I will ensure that technocrats see what is best for it and not politicians. Projects like these can’t be stopped, but we need sincere efforts to make them good and financially viable,” he said.

Shekhawat and others including Nahata, Jain and other BJP councilors were seen satisfied with the Metro work. Before leaving, the minister also gave some suggestions to N C Goyal, CMD, Jaipur Metro on having a memorandum of understanding with the hospitals near metro stations.

Meanwhile, former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, expressing his happiness on the start of the Metro services, said, “I think there was an unnecessary delay in the commercial run of Jaipur Metro. I feel sad that BJP-led government had made it a ‘controversial project’.” He also said that a Metro route starting from Sitapura and passing through Jaipur airport, MI Road and Ambabari will solve traffic problems in the city.