Metro Rail a Priority in Government’s Agenda: Venkaiah Naidu

Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu greeting Kerala Minister for Power and Railways Aryadan Mohammed at Sri City, on Saturday
Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu greeting Kerala Minister for Power and Railways Aryadan Mohammed at Sri City, on Saturday

Chennai (MAS): Metro Rail projects covering a total distance of 528 km and valued at Rs 1,64,915 crore  is set to become operational in the country in a few years. With urban population exploding and transportation in cities increasingly difficult, Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu, extolling the virtues of Metro Rail, said that these projects will ease urban transportation issues considerably.

The Minister, while inaugurating the manufacture of the first coach shell for the Kochi Metro Rail project at Alstom Transport’s metro rolling stock facility in Sri City, said, “Traveling in cities has become a nightmare and it is adversely impacting the quality of life. We keep adding more and more vehicles, but what we need are more and more metros,” said Naidu adding that this is at the top of the government of India’s priorities. This dovetails with the government’s aim to establish 100 smart cities with convenient and efficient intra-city travel.

“Right now, we have 259 km of Metro rail operational in the country. 189 km in Delhi and 60 km in four other cities. And another 528 km are set to become operational in the next few years,” he said. Ongoing metro projects include Chennai’s phase one and  Bangalore.

Naidu also pointed out that Metro Rail projects were incredibly cost effective in the long run. “The 528 km will take up an estimated Rs  1,64,915 crore. The average cost of a metro project is more Rs  250 crore per km. But the Delhi Metro, which cost Rs  43,000 crore is said to save Rs 10,000 crore every year in terms of fuel costs and environmental impact,” he pointed out.

Construction on Nagpur’s Metro Rail project is set to begin and Metro Rail projects in Pune, Vijayawada, Lucknow, Ahmedabad and Vijayawada will soon initiated. Metro Rail projects in another 9 cities that will involve adding another 223 km at a cost of Rs 83,000 crore are currently under the Union government’s consideration.

The government is also actively encouraging indigenous manufacturing with a current national capacity of 620 coaches a year.

50 pc rail coaches ready in 3 years

Chennai: French manufacturing giant Alstom Transport is looking to ship about 50% of its production at its Metro Rail coach plant in Sri City in the next three years. The plant which currently has plans of extending capacity to around 200-250 cars a year, provides coaches to both the Chennai Metro Rail and the Kochi Metro Rail Projects. “The way we build coaches here will make India very important for the international market. Approximately 50% of our capacity will be exported to overseas markets in Australia, Asia Pacific and the Americas,” said a senior company official.