Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said metro rail projects would start in 19 cities, which have a population of more than 2 million.
Addressing the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Kochi Metro project here, Singh said, “We have taken a decision to support preparation of detailed project reports for metro rail projects in all the 19 cities with population of more than 2 million. DPRs have already been prepared for 12 cities.” The first phase links Aluva to Petta.
Metro rail projects are currently under implementation in seven cities. These would cover a length of 476 km at a cost of more than Rs 1.15 lakh crore. The Delhi metro is under operation carrying about 2.2 million people every day.
An efficient public transport system was critical to the orderly growth and development of India’s cities. However, metro rail is just one component of an efficient public transport system. Multimodal transport systems that efficiently integrate different modes of public transport like buses and trains were needed for the cities, he said.
The central government is also providing assistance for implementation of Bus Rapid Transit System projects in 11 cities with a network of over 437 km at a cost of over Rs 5,500 crore.
Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, the government had sanctioned over 15,000 low-floor and semi-low floor buses for mission cities at a total cost of over Rs 4,700 crore. For Kochi, 200 buses have been sanctioned.
Minister for Urban Development Kamal Nath said construction of the first phase of the Kochi Metro, having a length of 25.3 km, would be completed in 2016-17 with an estimated cost of Rs 5,181 crore. The centre would provide an equity assistance of Rs 1,507 crore for the special purpose company formed for the project. Kochi Metro will get the most modern fourth generation technology that ensures safety and speed.
The central government will also support the proposed Mono rail projects at Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram.
The government has already given in-principle approval to the Kozhikode project. This will have 14 km rail with an estimated cost of Rs 1,600 crore. Thiruvananthapuram will get a mono rail of 24 km with an investment outlay of Rs 2,500 crore. DMRC is entrusted with the construction of the Kozhikode mono rail. He also said 350 low floor luxury buses would be allotted to Kerala for easing the urban traffic which incur Rs 124 crore. The centre will provide assistance to the tune of Rs 78 crore for this.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the government has already decided to study the Phase-II extension of the Kochi metro to Nedumbassery airport and Kakkanad.