Centre’s green signal for Metro Rail extension

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its approval for the long-pending proposal to extend the Chennai Metro Rail Project from Washermanpet to Wimco Nagar. The 9.05-km stretch will come up at a cost of Rs. 3,770 crore.

“The project will be executed by the existing SPV (special purpose vehicle) of Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu having 50:50 equity each, i.e., Chennai Metro Rail Ltd,” the Centre said in a statement. The project is scheduled to be completed by March 2018.

Cost sharing

Out of the total project cost, the share of the Centre will be Rs. 713 crore (which was allocated by the Cabinet on Wednesday) and the share of the Tamil Nadu government Rs. 916 crore, the statement added.

“Tamil Nadu’s share included cost of land and Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) of Rs. 203 crore. The balance amount of Rs. 2,141 crore will be met through loan from multilateral/bilateral/domestic funding agency,” the statement said. The estimated ridership will be 1.6 lakh passengers per day in the first year of operation.

“This extension will provide improved access to public transport for dense population comprising predominantly industrial workers to move towards the central business district of the city for work,” the Centre said in its statement.

Land acquisition

Officials of Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) said they will start the land acquisition process soon.

“We want to award tenders to contractors after we acquire the land required for this project,” an official said. The much-awaited approval for the extension project comes six years after the State government gave the approval. The 9.05-km stretch will be partly underground and partly elevated; the stretch from Washermanpet to Korukkupet will be underground and the remaining alignment will continue as an elevated corridor up to Wimco Nagar.

The CMRL has already floated tenders for the underground section of the project sometime back; the work on the underground section may start first, since it is considered time-consuming.

Though several residents of North Chennai are looking forward to this project as it will improve connectivity and mobility, there has also been opposition from a few quarters after the CMRL approached them for acquiring lands.

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