Nagpur Metro Rail project proposal stuck due to abnormal delay by Agencies involved

Nagpur (NGP): The status of Rs 8,500 crore Nagpur metro rail project is clouded in haze as various persons related to it are speaking in different languages. Sixteen different agencies are supposed to submit their opinion on the project. For this, they send queries to Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT), the nodal agency, which answers them through the state government. Of the 16, seven are yet to send their queries.

Congress-NCP government had planned a bhoomipujan of the project just before code of conduct for Lok Sabha elections came into effect but could not. Now BJP and Sena want it done before assembly elections are declared in the state. This is likely to happen after mid-August and BJP-Sena too might miss the deadline.

Nitin Gadkari, city MP and union transport minister, had claimed earlier in the month that 13 agencies had given an no objection certificate (NOC) to the project and three more were required, all of them from various wings of Planning Commissions. He was wrong on two counts. The number of agencies who had appraised the project was seven at that time. Secondly, their NOC is not required but they only give their opinion. It is up to the Union cabinet to follow or ignore the opinion.

Gadkari had promised to get the cabinet note prepared within a month and a half at the most or by August end and begin the work in another four to six months.

NIT chairman Pravin Darade told that the queries raised by all the agencies had been replied. “We have prepared a 50 page reply. One of our officers, will submit the reply to Union urban development ministry on behalf of state government. The opinion of the agencies as well as our reply will come up before Union cabinet, which will then take a call,” he said.

As per information available, seven agencies or individuals, whose opinion is required are yet to send their queries. They include: Member Secretary (Planning Commission), Adviser (PAMD, Planning Commission), Adviser (infrastructure, Planning Commission), Expenditure Department, Revenue Department, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Sources in NIT said it was necessary for these offices to submit their opinion. “They might just say they do not have any objection to project,” a source said. Earlier, union urban development secretary Sudhir Krishna had told the local media that the project was stuck at Planning Commission and Finance Ministry. It appears these have not shown much interest in the project. Moreover, the biggest concern of Central government is that whether it will be asked to dole out more than its share.