Friday, January 10, 2014

Lucknow Metro: WB advice may hit project schedule


Hindustan Times (Lucknow)
M Tariq Khan

LUCKNOW: 10 Jan 2014
In what could upset the itinerary for implementation of Lucknow Metro Rail project, the World Bank (WB) has asked the state government to reconsider its decision of starting work on the project from Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport (CCS) to Alambagh.
Based on t he ridership demand, the WB team has instead suggested that the government should start work on the Munshi Pulia-Alambagh stretch. Interestingly, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which has drafted the metro rail’s blueprint, had identified the seven-kilometre stretch from CCS airport to Alambagh as the priority section using the same parameters.
On the direction of chief secretary Jawed Usmani, who heads the high power committee on Lucknow Metro, a two-member team of Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation is holding talks with WB and DMRC officials since Wednesday to take a final call on the route. A seven-member WB team of transport and planning experts had conducted an extensive survey, extending over five days, of the two proposed metro corridors in the city last December.
“They (WB team) are also of the view that the metro depot proposed at 32 Batallion PAC land in Sarojini Nagar should be shifted and set up somewhere within the Munshi Pulia-Alambagh section,” said a senior official requesting anonymity. The state government has already approached WB for seeking loan for the project. While remaining non-committal on lending financial assistance, the latter has readily agreed to act as an advisor to oversee the implementation of the project.
On December 27, the Union ministry of urban development (MOUD) had given its in-principle approval to Lucknow Metro. Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the project later this month. But officials admit that they would now have to work fast to resolve this issue to meet the deadline. “Any change in the priority section and depot land at this stage would mean that we would again have to seek the state cabinet’s approval before we can undertake work on the project,” said the official. 

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