NAGPUR: The city’s Metro Rail project has received a major fillip with the central government sanctioning Rs.900 crore in the recent budget. The government has also sanctioned Rs950 crore for Pune Metro.
Brijesh Dixit, managing director of Mahametro (earlier NMRCL), told that the amount would be used for completing civil work, purchasing rolling stock, electrical works and installing signalling systems.
Commenting on the grants received in 2016-17, Dixit said that total Rs.819.5 crore had been sanctioned for this fiscal. “We got Rs.137 crore as equity and Rs.450 crore as external debt from centre. Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) gave us Rs.40 crore. The state government gave Rs.150 crore as equity and Rs.26.5 crore as subordinate debt,” he added.
“So far, we have received Rs.550 crore and the rest will be disbursed in the coming two months. We have mostly used this amount for civil work,” the MD further said. In 2015-16, the erstwhile NMRCL got Rs.208 crore from centre, state and NIT.
The Mahametro chief said that he was eagerly awaiting central government’s Metro Rail policy as announced by union finance minister Arun Jaitley in the budget. “It is about starting new metros and expanding the existing ones. These projects require large amount of funds and the policy is likely to suggest ways to do it. One way of raising money is to float bonds but for that viability of Metro projects will have to increased. This can take place only if non-fare revenue goes up significantly. One way is exploit the real estate available with the Metro agencies and their equity holders. Major policy changes will be needed if this is to happen,” he added.
The work on Nagpur Metro is going ahead at full pace. Civil work is going on in two out of four stretches. The contract for purchasing rolling stock has been placed and recently Siemens got the work order for installing signalling and train control systems. The solarization tender is ready but has hit a Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) policy hurdle. MERC is set to hear Mahametro’s petition for next week.