India, Guwahati Metro Rail Detailed Project Report Approved

India, Guwahati Metro Rail Detailed Project Report Approved :On 18 January the Assam State Cabinet finally approved the implementation of the Guwahati Metro Rail Project.

Assam Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary stated: “To ease the growing traffic congestion in Guwahati, the Cabinet has approved the implementation of the Metro Rail Project. The Detailed Project Report prepared by the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority has been submitted.”

“To ease the growing traffic congestion in Guwahati, the Cabinet has approved the implementation of the Metro Rail Project”

The previous Cabinet had approved the Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by RITES (“Rail India Technical and Economic Service”) in February 2016, and former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had laid the project foundation stone at Khanapara on 29 February of the same year.

The function was attended by many dignitaries, including Indian National Congress politician Akon Bora, Chief Secretary Vinod Kumar Pipersenia and others.

The previous Cabinet had also approved the formation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), the Guwahati Metro Rail Corporation Limited (GMRCL), for implementation of the project.

However Mr. Patowary, on 18 January 2017, told the press clearly: “There was no DPR and no money had been sanctioned. The foundation stone was laid without it. Now, we have the DPR.”

The DPR prepared by RITES in 2016 envisaged a 203 km metro, to be completed in three phases. Phase 1 was planned to be in total 61.4 km long, divided into lines as follows:

Line 1: 22.6 km of elevated track from Dharapur to Narangi, 22 stations
Line 2: 10 km of underground track from Mahatma Gandhi Road in Barowari to Khanapara, 10 stations
Line 3: 19.4 km of elevated track from Jalukbari to Khanapara, 14 stations
Line 4: 9.4 km from Rupnath Brahma Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT) to Paltan Bazaar, 8 stations

The latest version of the DPR has changed the alignments and priorities: the first phase of construction will see Narengi connected to Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport.

According to Mr. Patowary the service will later be extended northwards to North Guwahati (on the other side of the Brahmaputra river), with Kamakhya being connected to Khanapara in the southeast in a further stage of development.

The project is expected to reduce traffic congestion in the city by implementing a fast, comfortable, safe and affordable mass transportation system.

A project office will soon be set up at the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) building in Bhangagarh. However it is still unknown when work will start and how long it will take before the first section will go into service.

It is also unclear how the project will be funded: as per preliminary decisions the cost would be split into three portions, with the Central and State governments sharing two parts and the third part would be covered by funds obtained from financial institutions. But the size of the three portions hasn’t been quantified and the financial institutions haven’t yet been identified.

Guwahati, located between the banks of the Brahmaputra river and the foothills of the Shillong plateau, is the largest city in the Indian northeastern state of Assam and one of the fastest growing cities in India.

The current population is around the 1 million mark, but it is estimated that the city will count 2.8 million residents by 2025.

Writer: John Carlo Ottaviani

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