Nagpur (NGP): In order to increase the viability of the metro rail Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (NMRCL) has set a target of reducing the project cost by 20%. The cost of the project as per 2012 estimates of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) was Rs.8,421 crore. The union cabinet sanctioned the project at this cost. However, the cost as per 2014 estimates had gone up to Rs 10,360 crore.
Aware of the fact that cost escalation can derail the project, NMRCL officials are trying to find out all ways and means to reduce the cost. These include rationalization of the construction and outsourcing.
Brijesh Dixit, Managing Director of NMRCL, told DMRC had planned the project for 100 years, which had been reduced to 50 years by the metro company. “One hundred years is too long a time. It unnecessarily increases the project cost and leads to dead investment. Infrastructure can be expanded when required. We will leave space for it,” he said.
Explaining rationalization, he said, “The length of the metro stations, size of the depots and the size of the viaduct (elevated track structure) is being reduced. The viaduct size is being reduced by 15% which alone will lead to cost saving of 10%.”
Outsourcing of fare collection will lead to saving of over Rs 200 crore. “We will have to install automatic fare collection (AFC) machines at all the metro stations. We will integrate a bank’s ATM card with the metro fare coupon. The bank will install the machines for us as it will get a large number of customers, who will open an account in order to get the ATM card,” Dixit said.
NMRCL is also planning to reduce operation cost by using solar energy. A private operator will install solar panels atop stations and depot and along the alignment of the metro corridor. It will sell power to NMRCL at a profit and recover its investment. The agency also plans to provide WiFi service at metro stations with the help of a private operator. “The operator will be given rights to advertise on digital display boards at stations and inside the trains. He will share revenue with us,” Dixit said.
In addition to Sitabuldi and Ambazari stations, NMRCL plans to commercially develop metro stations at Zero Mile, Railway Station and six locations on Central Avenue.
Nine bids for Sitabuldi station
Nine international consultants have bid for designing the Sitabuldi metro station atop which NMRCL plans to construct a 20 storey building. The last date for submitting bids is July 6. Some more bids are expected by then.
Ways to reduce capital cost of metro rail
- Cutting down length of metro stations
- Reducing width of the viaduct by 15%
- Reducing size of the two metro rail depots
- Outsourcing fare collection system
Ways to reduce operating cost of metro rail
- Using solar energy
- Commercial use of some stations
- WiFi at stations through private operator