Privately run Metro Rail systems can only be successful if it gets proper Govt & Industry Support: Sanjiv Rai

Sanjiv Rai CEO Rapid Metro Gurgaon
Sanjiv Rai, outgoing CEO of Rapid MetroRail Gurgaon

Gurgaon (GGN): The CEO of Rapid Metro, who won plaudits for running India’s first privately built and operated Metro system, signed off on Tuesday with a word of caution — that a privately run Metro can only be successful in India if it gets sufficient support from the government and the private industry.

On his last day at work after spending over seven years at Rapid Metro, Sanjiv Rai chose to dwell on the challenges that lay ahead for the city’s fledgling mass transit system rather than the milestones of his era. He warned that the third phase of Rapid Metro — a 7km stretch from Moulsari Avenue up to the old Delhi-Gurgaon road — will have to be shelved if the Haryana government does not provide at least 40% viability gap funding (VGF). The VGF is usually a one-time payment for a project that is economically feasible but cannot attract sufficient private investment because of viability concerns.

“While the second phase (south extension) of our network is shaping up pretty well, it will not be possible for us to start the third phase (north extension, towards Udyog Vihar) unless the government provides us at least 40% VGF. It is not economically viable for us to construct Phase 3, which is likely to cost around Rs 3,000 crore,” said Rai.

The second phase, which is under construction, is likely to get delayed due to the ongoing overhaul of Golf Course Road and be completed only by the first quarter of 2017 rather than the end of 2016, he added.

The reason why Rapid Metro is not doing financially well is lack of support from the private and government sector, Rai explained. “The private sector and the government have failed us completely. When we had decided to start this Metro project, all offices in the nearby area showed enthusiasm and said they will ensure they stop providing cab services so that their employees start using our Metro. But they did not do so. They say they are scared employees will resign if cabs aren’t provided. Also, the government has not stopped buses and autos from plying along our Metro route, as was envisaged. We have written to the chief minister to do something about this issue but so far nothing has been done,” he said.

On his future plans, Rai said he is likely to enter the e-commerce industry. The new Rapid Metro CEO, Rajiv Banga, currently the chief of Bangalore SEZ, has assumed the charge of the post of CEO at Rapid Metro Head Office from yesterday.