By Vivek Gupta
A major push is expected on the important issues, including the Chandigarh Metro rail project, inter-state connectivity and an approach link road to the upcoming international terminal in Mohali, when chief secretaries of Punjab and Haryana along with UT Adviser to Administrator will meet for inter state co-ordination committee meeting in New Delhi on March 27 under the chairmanship of the Union Urban Development Secretary.
The current stalemate over the Chandigarh Metro, in which Punjab and Haryana are equal stakeholders, will be on the top of the agenda.
Sources said that the administration will ask for a World Bank loan, increase in equity from the Centre as well as Punjab and Haryana for execution of the Chandigarh Metro rather than undertaking it on public-private partnership, as earlier proposed by the Ministry of Urban Development.
A senior official said that Chandigarh was of the opinion that the Chandigarh Metro project was not feasible under public-private partnership and this would be conveyed in the meeting. “If all stakeholders agree on this, we can then possibly move forward towards signing of the MoU for the formation of a special purpose vehicle that will execute the Rs 15,000 crore project,” said the official.
The SPV is proposed to be named as the Greater Chandigarh Transport Corporation (GCTC), but the delay in finalisation of the MoU since 2013 has held up progress on the metro project. Both states have recommended some amendments in the MoU regarding the appointment of managing director of the SPV that will also come up for discussion.
“The meeting may bring some clarity over the concerns raised by local administration as well as other stakeholders,” said UT Finance secretary Sarvjit Singh, who is the nodal officer for the metro project.
Another important issue to be discussed is the inter-state connectivity. Sources said that Punjab is likely to table its plan for direct connectivity between Mohali and the Mullanpur area, for which the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has also acquired some land. The plan is to divert all the rush from Mohali to Mullanpur, which is being promoted as New Chandigarh by the Punjab government.
Possible alternative road links between Panchkula and Chandigarh will also be discussed in the meeting.
Besides this, Chandigarh will push for faster connectivity to the upcoming international terminal building of the airport in Mohali, which is expected to be inaugurated by July. While Punjab will be asked to accelerate the development of the approach road to the terminal via Aerocity in Mohali, the local administration will discuss its plan to connect the terminal through a tunnel from the existing domestic airport, so that local residents need not travel via Mohali to reach the new airport building.
“The Indian Air Force that manages the airfield has some reservation to the proposal, but discussion with ministry on the issue might bring some breakthrough,” the official added.