Lucknow: 1, Patna: 0

The Lucknow Metro has zoomed past its Patna counterpart, which is still idling.

By Nishant Sinha
  • Published 3.12.16
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People at the flag-off of the Lucknow Metro’s trial run on Thursday

The Lucknow Metro has zoomed past its Patna counterpart, which is still idling.

The Lucknow Metro conducted a trial run on an elevated corridor on Thursday, while the Patna project, conceived around the same time as Lucknow, drags on.

The Bihar government started working on the project in 2011. Patna was supposed to be the seventh Indian city to have a Metro after Calcutta, Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Jaipur and Chennai.

However, even after five years, the project is yet to roll out. In sharp contrast, the Metro is scheduled to be formally launched in Lucknow in March 2017 and even the Nagpur Metro is supposed to be ready in 2017.

On September 14, 2011, the Planning Commission of India gave approval for the Patna Metro. Thereafter, it took two years for the Bihar government to prepare an initial draft. The state government had then asked Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) which was submitted by RITES to the state government in October, 2014.

A map showing the proposed corridor. 

It then took another more than one year for the state government to approve the project as the same was approved on February 9 this year. The project was then sent to the central government for its clearance in March and since then it is waiting for approval. It was then decided to complete the project in the next five years by 2021.

Urban development and housing minister Maheshwar Hazari told The Telegraph on Friday: "We have fulfilled all the criteria put up by the central government. We have submitted a copy of the DPR, both in hard copy and on a CD. I had also met Union urban development minister M. Venkaiah Naidu in April this year and took up the issue of implementation of the proposed Metro rail project requesting him for quick approval of the project. However, the Centre is yet to respond to our request."

Hazari further said: "As the Centre's clearance is necessary for the project to get started, I am going to again meet the Union minister sometime next week for which I have already sought appointment. Hopefully, I will meet the minister next Tuesday or Wednesday and will again urge him to expedite the process of approving the project."

"As far as submission of no-objection certificates (NOCs) are concerned, which was earlier sought by the Centre, we have received it from almost all the departments and soon it will be submitted to the central government," Hazari added.

The process of implementing Patna Metro rail project has taken off with an estimated total cost of Rs 16,960 crore. The 16.9km stretch of Patna Metro project would be made jointly by various financial institutions, including Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the central government's assistance.

The Mahendru Ghat area under the proposed Metro route in Patna.
Pictures by PTI and Ranjeet Kumar Dey

Of the total allotted budget (Rs 16,960 crore), the Bihar government will invest Rs 6,544 crore, take equity loan of Rs 7,812 crore from JICA/ADB, and the rest will be provided by the Centre.

However, Hazari during his meeting with Venkaiah Naidu in April had told the Union minister that the state was willing to bear the entire cost of the project.

Hazari on Friday said: "I told Venkaiah ji that if the Centre was not willing to provide the money, the state government is ready to bear the whole cost of the project. We had a talk in this regard with JICA which is ready to provide us loan amounting to 90 per cent of the project cost. As of now, we only need the Centre's approval so that the project which is already delayed, could now resume."

The proposed Metro network will have 25 stations and will run from Danapur Cantt to ISVT on the Patna-Gaya road.

The population of Patna metropolitan is currently 20.32 lakh as per the 2011 census and is expected to go up by 36.3 lakh in 2031 as per the Patna Master Plan 2031.

With the implementation of project, it would be easier for the daily commuter to move in the city as though major developments have taken place over the past few years like building of flyovers, the city still faces major traffic congestion on its roads.

The overall road network in Patna is only about 4.5 per cent of the planned area while the total number of vehicles plying in the city has seen a rapid rise and at present more than 8.3 lakh vehicles are registered in the state capital.