KfW expert begins work on alternatives to Amaravati Metro Rail

VIJAYAWADA: The exploring of possible alternatives to the proposed metro rail in Vijayawada city gathered pace with a team of the German development bank, KfW, led by urban transport planner Edward Datson from Australia, taking stock of the original plans in a meeting with Amaravati Metro Rail Corporation (AMRC) managing director N.P. Ramakrishna Reddy here on Wednesday.

Mr. Reddy told that Mr. Datson would make a detailed analysis of various transport systems studied by Municipal Administration Minister P. Narayana and Principal Secretary R. Karikal Valaven and other officials in a fortnight.

The KfW will then submit its findings on the feasibility of the metro rail planned in two corridors — Pandit Nehru Bus Station and Nidamanur and PNBS and Penamalur, and suggest an alternative that is cost-effective and best suits the local conditions, especially the norm related to passengers per hour in a direction.

Vijayawada metro falls short on two counts — financial internal rate of return and the number of passengers likely to use the system at a given point of time.

In fact, these are the shortcomings that are holding back the NITI Aayog from giving its nod to the metro rail, forcing the State government to look for alternatives.

There has also been an inordinate delay on the part of the Public Investment Board (Ministry of Finance) in giving clearance.

As a consequence, Mr. Narayana and others visited China, Malaysia and other countries, where they studied various modes of public transport, including the expensive Maglev (magnetic levitation) trains and electric bus-ways.

It was only a couple of days ago Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu instructed the officials to check whether a light rail would be enough to meet the short-term requirements and whether it is scalable in future while waiting for the finalisation of the Central government’s new metro rail policy.

Deliberations on the whole picture with government’s adviser E. Sreedharan are due for quite some time.