Uttar Pradesh government today gave formal nod to the proposed Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) project. The state cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav put its stamp of approval on the development of the metro rail network. Lucknow City has a population of over 3 million. There has been tremendous horizontal growth in the state capital with rapid development of suburban areas. In such a scenario, a modern urban rapid rail transit system (RRTS) is imperative for a growing city like Lucknow to facilitate faster commuting and decongesting ever increasing road traffic. The cabinet approved the development of first phase of the metro project estimated to cost Rs 8,000 crore. The North-South corridor would span 24 km connecting Lucknow Airport to Munshi Pulia and traversing busiest intersections. The first phase of the project is likely to be up and running by 2016-17. The total project envisaged in phases is estimated at Rs 15,000 crore to be funded 50:50 by the Centre and UP on the lines of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and as suggested by the union urban development ministry. DMRC is the consultant for the project and had prepared the Detailed Project Report (DPR).
World Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had alrady evinced interest in Lucknow Metro. Both the joint venture partners would infuse 20% each as equity in the project, while the rest of the funds would be raised through debt. A sub-committee had already been constituted under Rajiv Agarwal, state housing secretary, to identify alternative sources of funding. Lucknow Metro project has been hanging fire for the last several years. During the previous Mayawati regime, the project could not move beyond the route alignment stage over funding model to be adopted. In his 2013-14 budget speech on February 19, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had averred time had come when Lucknow boasted of its own metro rail.