Nagpur Improvement Trust aims metro rail completion in 4 years instead of 6

नागपुर Nagpur (NGP): To avoid cost escalation, Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) aims to complete the metro rail in four years instead of six. The Union cabinet had approved the project on the basis of this assumption. NIT, nodal agency for the project, will be a part of the special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the same. It will appoint a consultant, which will suggest it ways to meet the target.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the agency that prepared the detailed project report (DPR), increased the cost of the project by Rs.1940 Crore from Rs.8420 crore to Rs.10360 crore just a few days before it came up before the Centre. The escalated cost was cleared by Public Investment Board (PIB). However, for clearance of the cabinet, it would have required a fresh round of clearances from all central agencies if the cost increased. The reason is that many agencies had cleared it at the initial estimate.

To overcome this hurdle, the Union cabinet assumed that the SPV would complete the project in four years instead of six, thereby avoiding the cost escalation. DMRC in its DPR had estimated the cost of Rs.8420 crore assuming that construction would start in 2012 and be completed in 2018. However, some days ago it calculated the revised estimate at increased rates considering the project would start in 2014 and end in 2020. Now NIT thinks it will start construction in 2015 and complete it by 2018.

A NIT official said the project could be expedited by constructing six to seven stretches simultaneously instead of two or three. “This is a tough task but the consultant will suggest us ways to do it. It will also help us preparing the tender document.” However, this process will take another eight months.

Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation (JMRC), whose pace of work was quite fast, took over two and half years to complete the first phase having a length of 9.2 km. The 25-km first phase of Delhi metro, which was constructed under the aegis of famous engineer E Sreedharan, took over four years. Work on Mumbai metro was very slow. Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) took six years and four months to complete a stretch of 11.4 kms.

The proposed length of Nagpur metro is 38.2 km and this is an indicator how daunting the task of SPV will be. If the target is not met then the cost will escalate and this difference would have to borne by the SPV comprising civic and state agencies. Unless the Centre comes to the rescue, the project will face deep trouble.