By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Feb 29: As proposed in 2012-13 Annual State Budget, State Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today laid the foundation stone of the Rs 18,020-crore three-phase Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS), commonly called as metro rail project, at Khapara in the city. The project, to be implemented by State Government-owned Guwahati Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (GMRC), is scheduled to be completed in five years.
A state fund allocation of Rs 1,800 crore was announced for the MRTS project through the Assam Infrastructure Funding Agency (AIFA) by the Chief Minister in his 2013-14 Budget speech. The funding pattern of the project, to be monitored as the nodal agency by the GMDA under the chairmanship of the State Chief Secretary, is 20 per cent each of the total cost of Rs 3,475 crore by the governments in the State and at the Centre, 2.01 per cent (Rs 350 crore) by local bodies and the remaining 57.93 per cent (Rs 10,074) through soft loans from funding agencies.
The total length of the metro corridor will be 203 km in three phases, forecasting the traffic demand up to 2045. The DPR of phase 1 of the project has been prepared for 61.4 km.
The phase 1 of the project has four corridors – 22.6-km Dharapur-rengi (elevated), 10-km MG Road-Khapara (underground), 19.4-km Jalukbari-Khapara (elevated) and 9.4-km ISBT-Paltanbazar (elevated) – comprising as many as 54 stations.
At the function on this occasion held at the Veteriry College ground there, Gogoi said: “This will remain a red-letter day in the history of Assam. Kolkata, Delhi and a few other metropolitan cities in the country have such metro rails. Such a step in a State like Assam is something big. The economic condition of the State was pathetic in 2001. Employees didn’t get their salaries, schemes like mid-day meal were stopped, people couldn’t roam about freely in the evening, investors had to shy away from making investment in the State. However, there has been a total turround now. With the improvement in law-and-order situation in the State, investors flock to Assam. People are moving around freely. Unemployed have got rehabilitation. The number cars has increased manifold in the State. If this is not development, what else is? With the problem of transportation aggravating, we have taken such a step. Why should we wait till 2045? Who thought for such a step? We’re contemplating on another bridge parallel to the Saraighat. The Centre has stripped us of our special status. They ask us as to what we’ve done in the past 15 years. We can tell Prime Minister rendra Modi that we’ve taken the step to make an elephantine task like metro rail in Guwahati a reality. We don’t entirely depend on the Centre for this project. We’ll take loans. We haven’t laid the foundation stone of this project before the preparation of the DPR like Nitin Gadkari, nor have we laid the foundation stone of a road project twice.”
On the project, Gogoi said: “The phase 1 of the project will be of 61 km. Then we’ll extend it to Darrang and Morigaon. They say Sarbanda can please all (anda). Now a kg of dal costs Rs 200. Feel pleased for that too? Thanks to the BJP. We’ll continue to work for the poor. We’ve also laid stress on the development of inland water transport.”
Dispur MLA Akon Bora, Chief Secretary VK Pipersenia, Additiol Chief Secretary MGVK Bhanu, Kamrup(M) DC M Angamuthu, GMDA chairman Dhiren Baruah and others were also present at the function.
A fact file of the project
Project: Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS)
Estimated cost: Rs 18,020-crore in three phases
Implementing agency: State Government-owned Guwahati Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (GMRC).
Scheduled time for completion of project: Five years
Phase 1 project specification: Four corridors – 22.6-km Dharapur-rengi (elevated), 10-km MG Road-Khapara (underground), 19.4-km Jalukbari-Khapara (elevated) and 9.4-km ISBT-Paltanbazar (elevated) – comprising as many as 54 stations.