City of Nawabs prepares for ‘Life in a Metro’

The city of Nawabs, known for mannerisms and tonga rides, is gearing up to welcome its own metro rail network.

LUCKNOW: If things roll as planned, the first phase of the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC), the proposed special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the project, would be up and running by 2016-17.

The total project envisaged in phases is estimated at Rs 16,000 crore, to be funded in a 50:50 ratio by the Centre and Uttar Pradesh on the lines of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and as suggested by the Union urban development ministry. DMRC is the consultant for the project and had prepared the Detailed Project Report (DPR).  Both the joint venture partners would infuse 20 per cent each as equity in the project, while the rest would be raised through debt.

The high powered committee headed by state chief secretary Jawed Usmani had recently approved setting up of the SPV and constituted a sub-committee headed by secretary housing, Rajiv Agarwal, to identify alternative sources of funding.

Lucknow Metro project has been moving at turtle’s pace for the last several years. During the previous Mayawati regime, the project could not move beyond the route alignment stage over funding model to be adopted.

Meanwhile, North-South corridor route, spanning about 24 km and connecting Lucknow Airport to Munshi Pulia, has been finalised.

In his 2013-14 budget speech on February 19, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had averred time had come when Lucknow boasted of its own metro rail, so that it could be counted amongst the developed cities in the world.

“Now, that one corridor has been frozen, we have to see that cost remains at the minimum. Later, we would identify other routes to connect virgin areas to the metro network. This would not only usher in growth in these pockets, but also generate funds for the project,” Agarwal told.

He said the project plan would now be put before the cabinet, hopefully this month itself, before it is forwarded to the Centre.

Eariler, international funding agencies, viz, World Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had evinced interest in Lucknow Metro. On May 13, JICA officials had even met the state chief secretary seeking details.

Agarwal said other routes, including East-West corridor and ring metro line running about 13 km and 42 km respectively, would be added to the project depending on the techno-feasibility reports.