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Signal from Nitish, metro hits top gear

Patna, Nov. 28: The Patna metro project seems to be running on the right track. The state urban development department has received a nod from chief minister Nitish Kumar for conducting the techno-economic feasibility study for the metro rail corridor in Patna.

The department is now working on a war footing to release the request for proposal documents, regarding the preparation of the feasibility study, within a fortnight.

Shashi Shekhar Sharma, principal secretary of the department, told The Telegraph: “The chief minister has agreed to conduct the techno-economic feasibility study for the metro rail corridor in Patna. While giving the approval, the chief minister also suggested that complete freedom be given to the selected consultant for exploring all viable routes under the proposed project. We are making the required changes in the respective documents and we would release the request for proposal document for Patna metro project within a fortnight.”

The department has already received the consent of the Planning Commission for providing technical support for the Patna metro rail project. Officials of the Planning Commission had held meetings with the state government in July and September this year. “A draft of the request for proposal documents for the metro project has also been sent to the Planning Commission and they will to revert to us with their suggestions. The final request for proposal document would incorporate those suggestions as well,” said Sharma.

Regarding the scope of the feasibility study, Sharma said: “The selected technical consultant would conduct its own survey of current and projected traffic footprint, demography, transportation practices, land and power availability, economic and social feasibility of the proposed metro corridor in Patna. The selected consultant would also give the various possible alignments for metro rail, which would be finalised in the later stages.”

Regarding the stages of Patna metro project, Sharma said: “Now, as both the Planning Commission and the chief minister have agreed to conduct the feasibility study for the proposed project, we would issue the respective request for proposal documents within a fortnight. This would be followed by bidding stage and submission of financial proposals by the interested firms. The selected consultant would be given six months to prepare the techno-economic feasibility study. After submission of the respective feasibility report, the department would issue expression of interest for the construction work of metro rail project.” According to sources, the actual construction can start at least after a year-and-a-half, depending upon timely actions.

Sources said the department has been approached by many leading metro infrastructure development firms, including Larsen & Toubro Limited and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, for conducting the feasibility study and construction work for the Patna metro project. The two most feasible routes for the metro corridor are Danapur to Patna City and Saguna More to Frazer Road.

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