नागपुर Nagpur (NGP): City’s metro railway project had a smooth run in the pre-Public Investment Board (PIB) meeting held at New Delhi on Friday. Pravin Darade, chairman of Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT), gave a presentation before secretary level officers of 16 central departments and agencies. As NIT had answered their queries beforehand, very few questions were asked.
The report of pre-PIB meeting will be sent to urban development department that will clear it. Then PIB meeting will be held where the project will get approval from Planning Commission. PIB is a wing of the Commission. Once this is obtained the project will be tabled before the Union cabinet. PIB meeting is expected to be held on either August 13 or August 14.
Prime minister Narendra Modi will perform the bhoomipujan of the project on August 21 at Kasturchand Park. NIT, which is the nodal agency, will then start the formalities for starting work on metro railway.
Election code of conduct can come into effect any time from August end to mid-September depending on when Election Commission schedules the assembly elections. However, this will not affect the work as the project would have been cleared by Union cabinet by then. The procedure for approving the metro rail had continued during code of conduct for Lok Sabha elections.
Sixteen departments have been sending queries to NIT about the project since months. Many of them took their own time to send the queries. As BJP wanted to get the bhoomipujan of the project done at the hands of PM, local leaders especially transport minister Nitin Gadkari used their good offices to expedite the process. Local Congress ministers Nitin Raut and Rajendra Mulak, on the other hand ensured the state government cleared NIT’s replies and those were sent to the Centre immediately
Work on metro railway should have begun in December 2012. At that time, the cost of the project was around Rs 8,400 crore. Now it is around Rs 10,400 crore. NIT is however, confident that the extra Rs 2,000 crore expenditure won’t cause any problems.
The Congress-NCP state government had tried hard to do the bhoomipujan of the project before Lok Sabha elections. However, metro rail did not have clearances from several ministries at that time. To show that Congress had achieved something, it got an in-principle approval from Central government. This approval was nothing but a charade as it merely gave powers to state government to go ahead with the project. The fact is that state government did not need any permission from Centre to do its job.
Stages of project clearance:
Urban Development ministry: Will clear on August 11 or 12 on basis of pre-PIB report
PIB meeting: Expected to be held on August 13 or 14
Union cabinet: Date not known. Its approval means the project is through
Bhoomipujan: PM Narendra Modi will do it on August 21