Red tape seems to have put the city’s urban rail project on slow tracks.
Even the first step towards preparing a detailed project report (DPR) for the mass rapid transport (MRT) system has not been achieved. More than six months after the urban development department floated a tender inviting bidders for preparing a financial and technical feasibility study for the proposed project, the department is now giving a second thought to it. Its minister, Prem Kumar, said the study conducted by Rail India Technical and Engineering Services (RITES) of the Indian Railways would form the basis of the DPR.
“It will save us both money and time,” claimed Kumar.
The MRT proposal was mooted in 2010 and the department was made the nodal agency for the same. However, even preparing a feasibility report has not started till date. At the last meeting between chief minister Nitish Kumar with Planning Commission members in Delhi, the latter suggested that the state should first send a DPR to the Centre.
Prem Kumar told The Telegraph: “As RITES has already completed the feasibility study, we thought that we would save time as well as money by using its findings. Also, RITES being a Union government agency, no one would question their credibility. RITES has already given a presentation on the feasibility study and we are waiting for a nod from the railways ministry to use the study report in order to move ahead with the project.”
According to sources, preparation of the DPR would include detailed technical and financial feasibility study for the route alignment suggested in the RITES report. It would also chalk out detailed engineering designs, including locations of stations and depots, and final cost estimates among other things. RITES also confirmed about submission of the draft final report for the techno-economic feasibility study for MRT in Patna. “The draft final report for MRT in Patna has been submitted to the ministry of railways and we are waiting for future directives,” a senior RITES executive told The Telegraph over phone from Delhi. He, however, refused to share the report’s findings.
On January 25, the urban development department issued a notice, inviting proposal for conducting an international competitive bidding for selection of consultant for surveying financial and technical feasibility study for MRT in Patna.
“The idea behind it was to find the feasibility of an urban rail system for the city, which could serve the long-term public transport requirement. Both mono as well as metro rails are two different types of modern urban transport system. Utilisation of the techno-economic feasibility study conducted for one can serve the purpose for another,” said an officer of the department.