The new route of the proposed first phase of the Rs 10,700 crore Ahmedabad metrorail project will not only help add 15 percent more commuters to the 4.5 lakh who will use the metro when the first phase of the project gets commissioned in 2018, but it will also lead to an additional cost of about Rs 500 crore.
“Two more stations have been added on the north-south corridor of the metro route and this will cost about Rs 500 crore more,” official sources associated with the metro-rail project told The Indian Express. Apparently, the average per kilometer cost of building the metro in Ahmedabad currently stands at about Rs 220 crore.
Though the project has remained largely confined to the drawing board, state government figures point out that Rs 565.60 crore has already been spent behind the metro rail project in the last two years till May 31, 2014. The annual reports of MEGA for the year 2011-12 an 2012-13 point to a cumulative loss of Rs 11 crore due to expenses related to “project implementation.”
The project was conceived in 2003 and the first Detailed Project Report for the Ahmedabad metro project was drawn up by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation in 2005. The route of the project has so far been changed four times since then.
In the latest change, the route connecting the APMC in South to Motera (north-south corridor) has been tweaked and aligned with the Botad-Sabarmati meter gauge line after the Indian Railways agreed to allow the metro project to use it’s land. “We will be paying a nominal rent to the Indian Railways for the land we will be using,” said the official without quantifying the rental value.
The old north-south route that connected APMC-Vasna-Anjali-Paldi-Madalpur-Nava Gandhigram-Ashram Road-Usmanpura-Ranip has been done away with and a new route connecting APMC-Jivraj Park-Rajiv Nagar- Shreyas- Parimal- Gandhigram-Income Tax-Usmanpura-Vijay Nagar-Vadaj-Ranip has been introduced. The length of the metro route stands increased to 37.76 kms from the earlier 35.96 kms.
“This new route gives a bigger catchment area and will help us add 15 per cent more commuters to the metro,” said an official who did not wish to be named. The first phase of the project which includes both the North-South and East-West corridors is expected to be complete only by December 2018.
“The project will now cover over 2 lakh population from the densely populated Vejalpur and the posh residential areas of Satellite, Ambawadi, Usmanpura, Vijay Nagar and link them to the business hub on the Ashram Road,” the official said pointing out the project will also connect the eastern end of the biggest Muslim ghetto of Juhapura which is about 300 meters from APMC metro station.
Officials point out that the connect between residential areas of the city and Ashram Road is the key as the entire stretch of the road between Usmanpura and Ellisbrige is being developed Central Business District or CBD of Ahmedabad where builders have been permitted to build multi-storied structures having as many as 22 floors. Ashram Road also has the highest FSI (Floor Space Index) of 5.4.
“As per the old route (north-south corridor) we had little space for building public utilities like parking space, stations etc, and we would have ended up congesting the busy Ashram road. Now there is sufficient space as the railway land along the existing track is available to us,” the official said adding that the MEGA (Metro-Link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad), a special purpose vehicle company formed to implement the project will be trying to save on overall cost of the project due to the railway land.
“The usage of railway land might help us nuteralise the Rs 500 additional burden,” the official remarked adding that the MEGA has already acquired 25 hectares of land from the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation for one of it’s depot at APMC (on the north-south corridor) while the an additional 18 hectares of land was under process at the Apparel Park depot near Khokhara (east-west corridor).
Officials of MEGA also confirmed that the tweak in north-south corridor will however not require a new DPR. The Union Cabinet had approved Rs 10,773 crore for phase one covering 35.96 kilometers (before the tweak in route happened). The Centre will contribute Rs 1,990 crore in form of equity and subordinate debt.
UPCOMING AHMEDABAD METRO ROUTES:
North-South Corridor (APMC to Motera stadium: 17.23 kms): APMC-Jivraj-Rajiv Nagar-Shreyas-Parimal-Gandhigram-Income Tax-Usmanpura- Vijay Nagar-Vadaj-Ranip-Sabarmati Railway Station-AEC-Sabarmati-Motera Stadium
East-West Corridor (Thaltej Gam to Vastral Gam: 20:53 kms): Thaltej Gam- Thaltej- Doordarshan Kendra- Gurukul Road- Gujarat University- Commerce Six Roads- Stadium- Shapur- Gheekanta-Kalupur Railway Station- Kankaria East- Apparel Park- Amraiwadi- Rabari Colony- Vastral- Nirant Cross roads- Vastral Gam