VIJAYAWADA: The state government, which has decided to scrap the Metro Rail Project and opt for Light Metro Rail for Vijayawada, appears to be taking U-turn and going back to Metro Rail again, considering the new Metro Rail Policy announced by the Centre. According to sources, the government, with an aim of introducing cost effective public transport system in Vijayawada, decided to introduce LMR instead of Metro Rail. “After the Centre came out with the new policy, the government is evincing interest once again in the Metro Rail Project. The new proposal will be placed before the Chief Minister for his clearance,” said a senior official in the municipal administration department.
After the German-based public transportation sector expert Edward Dotson suggested that the LMR would be a better option for Vijayawada, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu gave approval and directed the Amaravati Metro Rail Corporation (AMRC) authorities to prepare the Detail Project Report (DPR) a month ago.Estimating that funds of `4,273 crore needed for LMR for covering a distance of 26 kms and there is also scope for extending the LMR to Amaravati in the future, the authorities thought of getting approval for LMR from the Centre. It is estimated that expenditure for LMR will be reduced by 25 per cent when compared to that of Metro Rail proposed by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and also can reduce 22 per cent of maintenance cost.
After studying the benefits, expenditure and maintenance cost, the government, despite not making any official announcement about scrapping the Metro Rail, however, zeroed in on the LMR. Principal Adviser to AP government on Metro Rail Project E Sreedharan also tendered his resignation.
The government, however, did not accept his resignation and in the wake of the Centre announcing new Metro policy, making private participation mandatory for all the three funding options, the state seems to have decided Metro Rail was better option than LMR.
The three funding options are: A public-private partnership (PPP) model with Central assistance under the Viability Gap Funding scheme of the Finance Ministry, a grant from the Centre under which 10 per cent of the project cost would be given as a lump sum, or a 50:50 equity sharing model between the Central and state governments.On Thursday, Metro Rail Project was resurrected when Sridharan called on Chief Secretary Dinesh Kumar at the Interim Government Complex in Velagapudi and assured to strive for getting the necessary approvals for the Metro Rail Project.