Wednesday, March 27, 2013

LUCKNOW: Time for Metro-morphosis (related stories)

No construction within 50 metres of metro tracks
30 Jul 2013
Hindustan Times (Lucknow)
HT Correspondent
LUCKNOW: No construction or development activity would be permitted within 50 metres on either side of the proposed metro tracks in the state capital.
The Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC), the agency, which has drafted the blueprint for Lucknow Metro Rail has asked state government to freeze all development along the suggested corridors to ensure smooth sailing for the project.
“People will have to procure a ‘no objection certificate’ from the metro cell if they intend to carry out any construction activity in the vicinity of the tracks,” confirmed a senior government official.
A blanket ban order would be issued once the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) is set up, he said adding that this would be done within a week.
Chairman of the metro cell and secretary, housing Rajiv Aggarwal has already shot off a letter to various government departments to assess and map their respective utilities that are coming in the way of the tracks and submit a report at the earliest.
Work on the 23-km northsouth corridor (from Amausi airport to Munshi Pulia), as per the itinerary drawn by the state government is expected to start in December. An environmental impact study carried out by the consultant (read DMRC), however, points out the presence of several sensitive structures, including some protected monuments along the projected corridors.
A field survey of the northsouth corridor by DMRC has revealed that there are 61 religious structures and 39 educational and medical institutions that exist within 30 metres of the track alignment. This include 41 temples, 11 mosques, a gurudwara, satsang bhawan and a Bodh Vihar. Likewise, the east-west corridor, too, has 28 religious structures and 17 educational and medical institutions. Experts, however, feel that these structures would not pose a problem where the tracks are underground. “Such hitches are bound to be there in an infrastructure project of such magnitude.
We don’t think there would be any difficulty as we all are stakeholders in the project and everything would be done by taking the people into confidence,” said the official.
After obtaining the state cabinet’s approval, the metro DPR (detailed project report) would be sent to the union ministry of urban development, the planning commission and the union finance ministry for their nod. “A formal request to make the Metro Railways Act 2009 applicable to the Lucknow project has already been made and we expect all necessary clearances from the centre before August 15,” the official said.
With chief minister Akhilesh Yadav taking personal interest in the project, senior officials at the helm claim that a single-line service would become operational by 2016.
“We will not wait for financial assistance from the centre but start work with our own 20 per cent equity and raise funds from additional resources,” said the official.

Lucknow Metro project closer to reality
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, July 26, 2013
First Published: 11:34 IST(26/7/2013) | Last Updated: 11:39 IST(26/7/2013)
The High Power Committee (HPC) on Lucknow Metro Rail gave its nod to start work on the Amausi-Munshipulia stretch in the first phase of the project.
At the same time, it asked the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to immediately commence the techno-feasibility study on the 42-kilometer alternative corridor for the ring metro line including the Gomti Nagar link, Tulsi Das Marg, Subhash Marg and Mill Road.
Work on the first phase would start with the construction of a depot that would come up on 50 acres of 32nd PAC Battalion land near Amausi Airport on Kanpur Road.
The deadline for completion of this phase (North-South corridor) is March 2018 while the second phase (East-West corridor) would be over by March 2019, according to the HPC.
A panel comprising principal secretaries of the departments concerned has been constituted to carry out the necessary physical survey of the proposed depot site and submit its findings within 15 days.
Likewise, another panel under principal secretary, finance, has been asked by chief secretary Jawed Usmani to vet the memorandum of articles and association proposed for the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and give its opinion within 15 days.
The chief secretary presided over the HPC.
“These are necessary procedural formalities that have to be followed. We have collected all basic information and completed paper work related to the formation of the SPV,” said an official, who attended the meeting.
DMRC general manager (consultancy service) Arun Kumar Singh gave a presentation of the revised blueprint of the metro project to the committee.
A sub-panel headed by secretary, housing and chairman of the Lucknow Metro Cell, Rajeev Aggarwal presented a report to the HPC on generating funds from additional resources for the project.
While agreeing in principle with the measures suggested by the panel, the HPC referred the matter to the departments concerned to give their opinion on whether the same could be implemented without any legal hassles.
For the first time, a member of the North-Eastern Railway was also invited to the meeting, which among others was attended by principal secretaries of housing, Sadakant, home, RM Srivastava, finance, Anand Mishra, planning Sanjiv Mittal, transport, BS Bhullar and several other senior officials.

UP Officials explore new avenues to raise funds
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, July 10, 2013
First Published: 11:55 IST(10/7/2013) | Last Updated: 11:58 IST(10/7/2013)
Even as the state government dispatched a formal request to the Centre to issue the necessary notification for Lucknow Metro Rail project, officials here have intensified efforts to explore new avenues for raising additional funds for the project.
In his letter to director of Mass Rapid Transit System of the union urban development ministry, principal secretary for housing Sadakant has attached a copy of the July 5 state government order sanctioning work on the 22.99 kilometer-long North-South corridor as first phase of the project.
Though a major chunk of the funds would have to be procured as loan from foreign institutional lenders once the Center gives its nod, officials at the helm of the project are mulling local steps to garner additional resources.
In this regard, chairman of the metro cell, Rajiv Aggarwal held a meeting with senior officials of finance, stamp and registration department here on Tuesday to discuss ways and means to bankroll this modern mode of public transport.
“Measures like increasing the floor area ratio (FAR) along the metro corridor, enhancing stamp duty on property abutting this stretch etc were discussed. But we are still studying the legal aspects and impact these will have. In any case, a final decision would be taken by the high power committee (HPC) headed by the chief secretary,” said Aggarwal when contacted by Hindustan Times.
A mere 0.5% increase in purchasable FAR on all plots located within 500 metres on either side of the proposed metro line would give builders and developers the chance to build extra dwelling units.
Proceeds from the sale of this FAR could fetch several hundred crore to strengthen the metro system, says a planning expert.
In fact, NOIDA had got a similar proposal passed by its board to fund its metro rail link.
Aggarwal said documentation and paper work related to the project was almost complete.
“We have got the report from the team that had gone to study how the metro rail project is shaping up in Chennai. They would be going to Bangalore next on July 15. We are going to adopt the best provisions and practices adopted by others,” he said, adding that DMRC was expected to deliver the modified detailed project report by next week.

LMRC looks up to Chennai for metro

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Lucknow, July 05, 2013
First Published: 13:36 IST(5/7/2013)
Last Updated: 13:39 IST(5/7/2013)

Lucknow seems to be looking up to Chennai to give shape to its own dream of having a metro rail system. A two-member team of the specially constituted cell for Lucknow Metro Rail left for the capital of Tamil Nadu on Thursday to study their setup. “Chennai started work on its
metro rail in 2008. Its project parameters in terms of roads, traffic conditions and the size are almost similar to the one proposed by us,” a senior official associated with the project said.
Apart from sending a formal proposal for funding to the central government’s Ministry of Urban Development (MOUD), an immediate task at hand for the officials is to get the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation registered and outline its management structure.
While the MOUD secretary would be its ex-officio chairman, the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) is expected to have a senior IAS officer (principal secretary rank) at the helm as its managing director, who will be assisted by over a dozen other directors drawn from various streams.
“The R14,500 crore Chennai Metro Rail is expected to complete its first 23-kilometer phase, which happens to be the length of our corridor also, by 2013-15. The state and central government, each have contributed 20 per cent and the remaining 60 per cent they have taken as a loan from Japanese International Cooperative Agency (JICA),” said the official.
And if sources are to be believed, Lucknow would be emulating Chennai for bankrolling its own project, as JICA is known to charge the lowest interest rate on its loan.
The team would be back on Saturday after which it would submit a report to the state government.
Last month, housing secretary Rajeev Aggarwal, who happens to be the head of the panel on Lucknow metro rail, too had visited Chennai to examine their setup.
“We have gathered all the information and details and expect to dispatch a formal proposal to MOUD within a fortnight,” said the official

Lucknow Metro work likely to start by December
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, June 28, 2013
First Published: 11:10 IST(28/6/2013) | Last Updated: 11:14 IST(28/6/2013)
The state Cabinet on Thursday approved modalities for the first phase of 23-km-long Lucknow Metro rail project that is likely to start by December this year and completed in three to five years.
While giving nod for establishment of the Lucknow Metro Rail (LMRC) as special purpose vehicle (SPV), the government plans an equity partnership on 50:50 with the centre for this north-south corridor.
Talking to journalists after the Cabinet meeting, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said a decision had also been taken to expedite this ambitious project. Later, principal secretary, housing and urban planning, Sadakant said the north-south corridor would run from Amausi airport to Munshipulia via Charbagh, Vidhan Sabha Marg, Hazratganj, KD Singh Stadium, Lucknow University, IT Crossing and Badshah Nagar and Indira Nagar.
The first phase is likely to cost Rs. 8,000 crore, Sadakant said, adding that apart from the 50% financial assistance from the central government, there was also a plan to approach external agencies for additional mobilization of fund. Terming the project not feasible under the public private partnership (PPP) model, Sadakant said the DMRC was also on equity share basis of 50% each with the central government. So was also the case with Chennai, Kochi and Bangalore, he said.
As per the project, there would be three underground and 18 elevated stations. Three km route from KKC College, near Charbagh, to KD Singh Stadium (Hazratganj) would be underground, Sadakant said, adding that the 23-km long alignment had now been finalized. He said the government would provide initial funds to launch the project.
“Major framework for the first phase is ready and the government will be in a position launch it on the ground by December,” Sadakant said and added that the government had decided to invite suggestions from the people for further improvement in the project. The government has identified nearly 100 acres of land of the 23rd PAC battalion in Krishna Nagar on airport road for establishment of a depot. Sadakant said the government would provide an alternative land to PAC in Mohanlalganj.
Before launching the project the government and district administration would make all possible arrangements to avoid inconvenience to the people during the work, Sadakant said.
The government has decided to adopt two central government Acts in this connection. Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and National Capital Region (NCR) have also adopted these legislations.
Meanwhile, housing secretary Rajiv Agarwal said the underground cost of the project would be around Rs. 500 crore per km and for elevated structure it would be about Rs. 200 crore per km.

Uttar Pradesh zeroes in on the Taste of India

M Tariq Khan
Lucknow, March 14, 2013
First Published: 11:58 IST(14/3/2013) | Last Updated: 12:01 IST(14/3/2013)
When it comes to ushering in the 'white revolution', Uttar Pradesh, it seems, savours the same flavour that tickles the palate of the entire country.

The world's largest producer of milk and its assorted products - Amul - has been chosen by the state government to set up the Rs. 200 crore modern dairy on 20 acres of Chak Ganjaria farmland on Sultanpur Road. "Amul is keen to start work on the project by March end and ready to pay the cost of the land allotted to it at the prevailing industrial rate (Rs 4,800 per square metre) in the region," said a senior state official.
On Wednesday, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was given a presentation of a blueprint for setting up an IT city, a medi city and a hi-tech township along with this dairy on 825 acres of the Ganjaria farm land.
The milk brand with its base at Anand in Gujarat has set a deadline of 18 months for completing the plant from the date of clear allocation of land and necessary approvals. It has sought a two year moratorium and payment in five years in five equal annual interest-free installments to the government.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav laid the dairy plant's foundation on September 3, 2012. Initially, the state government had decided to seek aid from the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) for the project that was to be given shape by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
"A decision in principle has now been taken to allow the LDA to provide the infrastructure at the site and anchor the whole project," said another official, who attended the meeting. Work would commence once the cabinet gives its nod to the proposal, he said. At one point of time, there was a move to relocate the dairy that would have a capacity to process five lakh litres of milk daily to an alternative site on the Faizabad-Barabanki Road.
"Officials were, however, told to integrate the development plan with the existing animal husbandry department's buildings at the site that include a training centre and a spin mill godown," said the official. The animal husbandry department too has been allocated 5 acres. The remaining land pie, according to the official, would be shared thus: 150 acres for IT City and the IIIT, 125 acres for a medical city and a cancer institute, 20 acres for a modern dairy and 525 acres for a hi-tech township.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Clogged Up Court

Pendency: 9.7 lakh, Vacancy: 78: How can HC deliver justice?

9 Mar 2013
M Tariq Khan
Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

The judiciary is immensely overburdened. Each judge has around 150 cases on his/her list. Is it humanly possible to decide them in a day, asks HGS PARIHAR President of Oudh bar assn

LUCKNOW: With a backlog of a staggering 9.7 lakh cases, the Allahabad high court (HC) is surely facing a herculean task.Going by the given pendency, if the judiciary works on full steam, takes up no fresh cases and devotes five minutes to every case, the high court would take at least 40 years to decide the cases.
Of this, while 7,17,000 cases are pending before the high court in Allahabad, another 2.50 lakh are awaiting adjudication before its Lucknow bench.
But justice is bound to take much longer when you consider that the judicial set up is working at half its authorized strength in the state. Against the sanctioned post of 160, the Allahabad high court has only 82 judges at present. And with another 25 (16 in 2013 and nine in 2014) of these judges set to demit office in 201314, the crisis is only expected to worsen.
Legal experts and lawyers feel that the way out of this quagmire is to do away with the existing collegium system for appointment of judges, improve infrastructure, set up another bench of high court and appoint young and efficient people as judges. “This shortage (of judges) is not accidental. We know when a particular judge is going to retire, so why cannot we accordingly plan in advance to fill up that vacancy,” asks senior lawyer SK Kalia. According to court officials, a proposal to appoint over a dozen new judges has now been awaiting clearance for over 10 months at the Centre.
“We will have to evolve a system whereby this elevation process is completed expeditiously sans any hitch,” he said adding that experience and ability of the person being considered for the job was of utmost importance.“Setting up of an additional high court bench in Western UP has been a long pending demand. Maharashtra has it, why cannot we? There should be no politics on this,” points out Anil Tiwari, another senior lawyer. He said the existing sanctioned strength of 160 judges too was insufficient to deal with the backlog of cases as several new districts have come up in the state in the past decade. Senior advocate Kapil Deo believes that the issue must be addressed urgently in the interest of justice. “It’s paralysis of political will in the end,” he said adding that the collegium system for selection of judges was the biggest stumbling block in resolving the crisis. Agrees HGS Parihar, the president of the Oudh Bar Association. “The judiciary is immensely overburdened presently. Each judge has around 150 cases on the list. Do you think it is humanly possible to decide them in a day? Justice would obviously be the ultimate causality. We need to have at least 300 high court judges,” he points out.
The problem, however, is there is not enough room to keep the case files let alone providing office space for new judges, he said. Kalia feels this space crunch would ease once the under-construction new high court building in Gomti Nagar was ready by the end of 2014. For instance, the move to computerise courts is a step aimed at streamlined its functioning. The e-courts project has already been allocated R935 crore. The project covers 14,249 courts across the country. It will provide computer hardware, power backup, services for automation of case management, citizen-centric services such as certified copies of orders and also create a national judicial data grid. The blueprint looks impressive. If the implementation is equally effective, then there will be relief, at long last, for the hapless litigants.