VIJAYAWADA: The Vijayawada, Guntur, Tenali and Managalagiri Urban Development Authority (VGTM-UDA) is moving ahead with its plan to conduct a feasibility study and prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for rail-based mass rapid transit system (Metro Rail). However, the exercise has attracted much criticism from various quarters.
The UDA recently invited reputed consultants to submit expressions of interest (EOIs) for preparation of the DPR and the last date for submission of the same is September 1.
But the decision of the UDA, which is reportedly taken at the behest of the state government, is drawing severe criticism. While some people question the timing of the appointment of the consultants, the others doubt the financial viability of the project.
It may be recalled here that the Union government had promised to construct a Metro Rail project in the VGTM-UDA region and also included it in the AP Reorganisation Act.
However, some UDA officials say that appointing the consultants at this juncture is not correct as there is no clarity over the location of the capital including setting up of the Assembly, Secretariat, offices of commissioners and directors, educational institutions, residential, commercial and industrial zones.
“While preparation for the master plan and a zonal development plan to meet the requirements of the city up to 2031 is on, some ministers have announced construction of the bypass or ring roads on their own. They are not consulting the UDA before making any announcement with regard to location of the sites for the offices. It seems that the state government has its own plans on the capital. If it goes with its own plan, there will be a clash between the UDA’s master plan and the government’s plan. This will also have an impact on the Metro Rail project,” said a senior officer.
He also said, “It seems that the state government has taken the decision in a hurry. It should have waited until it has decided the Capital city. Moreover, the mobility rate in VGTM-UDA limits is very low.”
VGTM-UDA region has a population of just 30 lakh. The UDA is expected to spend about `25 crore for preparation of the DPR for the 259-km Metro Rail route in four phases. The first phase is expected to cover the area between Gannavaram and Gollapudi. However, the Centre would bear the expenditure for preparation of the DPR.
While the government is expected to spend about `8 lakh per km of survey, it will require `150 crore per km for laying of an elevated metro route. Former minister Vadde Sobhanadreeswara Rao said, “The Metro Rail project should be thought of after 10 or 15 years when the population reaches a certain point.” Stating that spending thousands of crores of rupees on the Metro project was a criminal waste of money, he urged the MPs to bring pressure on the railway minister to increase the number of electrical multiple units (EMU) between Tenali and Guntur as well as Guntur and Vijayawada. The number of compartments should also be increased to meet the traffic, he said and expressed doubt over passenger mobility criteria of the project.
“The urban mobility has to be more than 15,000 per hour if the project has to be successful. But the fact is that the mobility is less than 2,000 per hour in Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali circuit and it is in the range of 2,500 to 3,000 per hour in the Gannavaram-Gollapudi corridor. These two corridors are included in the phase-1 of the project,” according to UDA sources.
“The Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) has stood as a testimony to the failure of the rapid transport. In view of this, the government should take up the Metro Rail project only after a thorough discussion,” said CPM leader Ch Babu Rao.
CHUGGING ON AGAINST ODDS
- VGTM-UDA invited EOIs for preparation of DPR on Metro Rail project.
- The last date for submission of EOIs is Sept 1.
- VGTM-UDA region allegedly has a population of just 30 lakh.
- Rs 25 crore expenditure made on DPR will be borne by the Centre.
- VGTM-UDA is preparing a master plan to meet the requirements of the city till 2031.