Amid talks of the UPA’s flagship Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) being replaced by the Narendra Modi-led NDA in the Union Budget 2014-15, uncertainty prevails over the fate of third phase of Gujarat government’s much acclaimed urban transport project of Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) for Ahmedabad. The project has got several national awards and been a model for many Indian and foreign cities.
Apart from the BRTS phase III estimated to cost Rs 500 crore to cover a stretch of 26.8 km (over 13,491 hectare) to connect interior city areas and Sardar Patel ring road, two sewage treatment plants worth Rs 150 crore were also awaiting approval and sanction under JNNURM scheme from the UPA regime.
While BRTS phase I and II, both funded under JNNURM, are implemented by Ahmedabad Janmarg Limited (AJL) under Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), it has been over a year since the detailed project report (DPR) of the third phase, after approval from the state government, was lying pending with the Central government and recently sent back to the state government.
“While BRTS is a success, sewage treatment plant is a very relevant area for development of any city. Under urban renewal, the new budget has a slot for urban transport development. Once more details are revealed, appropriate proposals would be made from our side under the new urban renewal scheme,” said AMC Commissioner Guruprasad Mohapatra.
The tertiary water treatment plants are a part of reclaiming water for Sabarmati river to keep it flowing across the year, to power the riverfront.
Agreeing that the BRTS phase III approval was pending since over a year now, Mohapatra said, “It it known only to us how we got one of the projects of tertiary treatment plant in Pirana approved by the Centre after it was rejected on one pretext or the other. Similar fate was met with the BRTS phase III DPR as the approval and sanction has been awaited over a year now.”
Out of a total of 89 kms (phase I 45 kms and phase II 44 kms), at present 86 kms are already operational under BRTS phase I and II. The third phase had six routes with an estimated 52 stations, nearly one at a distance of 500 metre.
However, on the fate of other ongoing projects, Deputy Municipal Commissioner M Thennarasan, in-charge of JNNURM projects in the city, said, “All those projects already approved and sanctioned under JNNURM would be completed. Only those proposed but not approved have to be reconsidered.”
The projects approved and sanctioned under JNNURM includes heritage project of restoration of Bhadra Fort worth Rs 30 crore, tertiary treatment plant in Pirana worth Rs 96.38 crore.