The commissioning of the Ahmedabad Metrorail project is expected to take much longer than planned earlier. The first phase of the project that proposes to link the two highly populated corridors within Ahmedabad city with each other was earlier targeted to complete by 2018. However, only the first 6 kms of the 37.76-km-long Metrorail route will now be complete by end of 2017.
“We will be able to commission only the first six kms by 2017. The underground section of the Metro and the alignment of the North-South and East-West Corridors (that links APMC and Jivraj Park areas in the South with Ranip in North and Thaltej Gam in the East to Vastral in the West) is expected to take longer time,” said a senior official associated with the project that saw the first Detailed Project Report (DPR) being filed in 2004, routes being redrawn at least three times and a Rs 113-crore scam recently denting the image of the project.
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Mumbai-based J Kumar Infraprojects Ltd has been selected to build the first 6 kms of the project between Vastral Gam and Apparel Park. This route is part of the 20.53-km-long East-West Corridor (Thaltej gam to Vastral Gam). This route will connect Apparel Park with Amraiwadi, Rabari Colony, Vastral, Nirant Cross roads and Vastral Gam.
Work on the piers for the metrolrail has already begun at Vastral Gam. “In a couple of weeks time, we will start the mass production of piers on this route,” the official said.
The Metro-Link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad Company Ltd (MEGA) — a 50:50 special purpose vehicle of the Government of India and Gujarat government that is executing the project — has not changed the date fixed earlier for the scheduled completion of the 37.76-km-long route. “We are still looking to complete the project by end of 2018,” the official added. However, the 2018 target seems unlikely considering that the foundation stone for the project was laid in March 2015 by CM Anandiben Patel and the official announcement made then was to complete the first six kms route at the cost of Rs 611 crore by September 2016.
Though the first DPR of the Ahmedabad Metro prepared by DMRC in 2004 had projected to carry 6.75 lakh passengers daily by 2010, MEGA officials claim that the project will gather steam once the General Engineering Consultant is appointed. “We expect to appoint GEC consultants for the project within a fortnight,” the official added. The new GEC is expected to replace Delhi Metro Rail Corporation who has been working as the interim consultant since September 2014.
In 2014, MEGA had also applied for a Rs 5900 crore loan from Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), a Japanese body that is providing financial assistance for several metro projects in India. “We currently have the Rs 2000 crore, given as equity, by the Government of India. The state government has also given us some funds. We will take the loan after we exhausted what we have,” the official said.