Transport may be the key focus area for the Chandigarh Administration in the budget for the financial year 2014-15, but there is no budgetary provision specifically made for introduction of either Metro Rail or Light Rail Transit as had been the case in the budget of the previous years.
Curiously, there are several projects for which provisions have been made year after year, but there has been no progress on ground.
In the budget for the year 2012-13, an amount of Rs 10 crore was earmarked for introduction of Metro Rail Transit System, Bus Rapid Transit System or Light Transit System. For the coming financial year, however, no such provision has been made, though the project report of the Metro Rail was submitted to the administration by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation last year.
As per the budgetary provisions for transport, Rs 13 crore have been allocated for replacement of 50 condemned buses. For purchase of 400 buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, a matching grant of Rs 60 crore has been earmarked. As sum of Rs 1 crore has been kept for upgradation of the bus stand.
The Metro Rail, however, does not figure in the schemes that have been incorporated in the budget estimates for the year 2014-15. The project, in fact, has been hitting roadblocks. One of the biggest hindrances is the lack of a consensus on the terms and conditions among Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.
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UT Adviser K K Sharma, however, says that the administration would make provisions for Metro Rail as a substantial amount of the allocation is for transport. He adds that the project for BRTS has not been found feasible for Chandigarh due to which there are no provisions.
The last meeting about the Metro Rail that was scheduled to be held with the Ministry of Urban Development had to be cancelled as officials from Haryana did not turn up. The project report for the Metro was prepared on the presumption that the construction would start in the year 2013 and the first phase would be completed by 2018.
Interestingly, there are several projects for which budget is allocated year after year with little progress being made. One such project relates to construction of underpasses. For the past several years, a token amount has been allocated for the project. This year the project has been transferred to the Municipal Corporation where the allocation has now been made.
Significantly, the allocation made under the plan head by the Centre has been slashed this year.