Ghaziabad Metro set to roll, UP clears higher budget
By Mohit Dubey, Lucknow, Mar 1 : For the millions who live in Ghaziabad, adjoining the national capital, the wait for a Metro ride into New Delhi just got shorter - the enhanced cost of the second phase of the Metro project has been cleared by Uttar Pradesh government.
Sources in the state government Friday confirmed that the state cabinet has given a green signal to "additional funds", superseding the earlier allocation for the second phase of the Metro rail project.
The fate of the ambitious project, set to decongest the national capital region and facilitate easy commuting, has been hanging precariously for the past few years, owing to change of guard in the state.
Official sources told IANS that while the state cabinet has approved the upped estimates of the second phase of the Metro rail, which comes to about Rs.1,116.60 crore, an official announcement to that effect would be made later, as the state assembly is in session.
The central government is set to spend Rs.344 crore for this project, and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will spend Rs.256 crore. The Uttar Pradesh government was to have spent Rs.991 crore earlier; the share was later raised to Rs.1,116.60 crore.
A decision was also taken to divide the cost that the state government would bear between four departments - the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA), the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation, the State Industrial Development Corporation, and the Aawas Vikaas Parishad.
According to officials, the distribution of the budget for the Metro line into the four departments was a tedious exercise, but "settled now".
"A meeting with regards to the budget allocation was presided over by the chief secretary and the issue was taken care of," a senior official told IANS.
According to the plan approved by the state cabinet, the GDA would be spending Rs.525.10 crore, the municipal corporation Rs.185.90 crore, the UP State Industrial Development Corporation Rs.73.20 crore, and the Aawas Vikaas Parishad Rs.332.40 crore.
The second phase of the Metro rail was approved Oct 17 last year by the state cabinet.
This phase in Ghaziabad will extend from Dilshad Garden in Delhi to the New Bus Terminal in Ghaziabad near the Mahamaya Sports Stadium.
The detailed project report (DPR) on a new alignment from Dilshad Garden to New Bus Terminal along Grand Trunk (GT) Road in Ghaziabad was submitted to the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) in April 2012.
The 9.41-km corridor will provide an alternative to the current Anand Vihar-Vaishali line.
Officials said the second phase would have seven stations - Shahid Nagar, Raj Bagh, Rajendra Nagar, Shyam Park, Mohan Nagar, Arthala and the New Bus Terminal in Ghaziabad.
The average distance between each of these seven stations would be 1.35 km.
The second phase of likely to benefit more than 1.2 million residents and commuters.
With budgetary allocations done, and some other "teething trouble" taken care of following a "clear-cut message from the chief minister's office to fast track the Metro rail project", a senior official said it would only be a matter of time before the project gets rolling.
"The necessary clearances, the budgetary provisions are all in place now. The chief minister hopes to see the second phase of Metro rail in Ghaziabad very much in stipulated time lines," the official said.
(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)