Newly elected Maha CM to constitute SPV for Nagpur Metro Rail

नागपुर Nagpur (NGP): Clearing the constitution of Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Limited (NMRCL), the special purpose vehicle (SPV) for executing the metro rail project, can be the new CM’s first gift to the city as a tide of expectations from Devendra Fadnavis, who would be the first chief minister from the city.

Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) has done the homework and sent the file to the state government for approval. NMRCL was given in-principle approval by the Congress-NCP government in January this year. Now, the state government has to set it up and send its proposal to central government for approval.

Currently, the file is being examined by the state’s law and judiciary department. It will then be sent to the urban development department. By the time Fadnavis and his team take charge, the file should be on the CM’s table. The governor has asked BJP to form government by November 15.

Sources in NIT said that the constitution of SPV was a very important step in the metro rail project. “The SPV will appoint a consultant who will explore ways of completing the project in less than six years so that the cost overrun is minimal,” an official said, adding that once NMRCL comes into existence NIT will not have any direct role in the project.

The chairman of NMRCL will be principal secretary of union ministry of urban development. This officer is chairman of all metro rail corporations in the country. The managing director will be appointed by the state government and will be a senior IAS officer. He will be stationed in Nagpur. The appointment will be done by the CM.

A major problem for the project is cost escalation. The central government has given approval to the project assuming the cost to be Rs.8,680 crore (as per 2012 estimate) instead of Rs.10,526 crore (as per 2014 estimate). The difference of Rs.1,846 crore will have to be either borne by Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) and NIT or a fresh approval will have to be sought after completing all formalities afresh. In the latter case, the project will be inordinately delayed.

The NIT official said that the new CM’s role would not be limited to setting up NMRCL if the metro rail is to become a success. “The agriculture university (PDKV) has moved the district court against our decision to acquire its land opposite Deekshabhoomi for NMRCL’s office. If state-funded bodies adopt such attitude, then the project will remain a non-starter,” he rued.

The official added that Fadnavis should also use his good offices with central government to make central government bear the cost escalation of the project. “There is bound to be escalation and it will be impossible for NIT and NMC to bear it,” the official said.