The Tricity has moved one step closer for mass rapid metro system as Chandigarh, Haryana and Punjab on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the formation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that will execute the project.
The SPV will be called Greater Chandigarh Transport Corporation (GCTC) whose prime job will be to develop metro project connecting Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula in its first phase and then covering other semi-urban areas in Chandigarh region to create seamless mobility solution.
As per the MoU, the initial equity of GCTC will be Rs 100 crore which would be equally contributed, that is 25 per cent each by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Chandigarh Administration, Punjab and Haryana government.
The MoU was signed by Haryana’s additional chief secretary P Raghavendra Rao, Punjab’s secretary (town and planning) A Venu Prasad and Adviser to UT Administrator Vijay Dev in the presence the UT Administrator-cum- governor of Punjab and Haryana, Kaptan Singh Solanki.
The signed copy of the MoU will now be sent to MoUD to formalise the document with its signature and to further initiate the process for the formation of GCTC.
As decided in the MoU, the board of directors of GCTC will have three representatives from MoUD and two each from Chandigarh, Haryana and Punjab.
The secretary, MoUD, will be the ex-officio chairman of the corporation while its full-time managing director will be appointed by the Central government in consultation with the board of directors of GCTC.
The earlier draft of the MoU did not seek consultation of neighbouring states in appointment of managing director. Then selection process was accordingly amended to accommodate concerns of Punjab and Haryana.
However, a change was seen in UT’s stand with signing of MoU.
In the initial draft of the MoU, circulated to all stakeholders in 2012, it was proposed that metro project would be undertaken with government funding only. However, a year later, the MoUD revised the draft and proposed that GCTC would execute the project with various options, including public-private partnership (PPP) mode.
While Punjab and Haryana made no objection, the then administrator Shivraj Patil was unhappy with executing the project through PPP mode which delayed official formalisation of MoU for two years.
In the MoU signed on Thursday, the funding provision has not changed much as the signed document mentions very clearly that the project will be implemented by GCTC through various options, including public-private partnership.
A senior official of the administration said that it was wrong to assume that the ministry had insisted on executing the project through PPP mode only.
“In this draft, the ministry has kept PPP mode as an enabling provision and left it on the GCTC to explore various funding options, which surely needs a detailed deliberation and it will be taken soon after GCTC is formed,” he said.
As per the MoU, GCTC will not only explore various funding options but also undertake various studies and projects for the development of this project besides looking after the commercial aspect of the project like fare structure, inter-modal integration of feeder services etc.
As per the detailed project report, the total length of metro project connecting the Tricity is approximately 40 km in phase-1 with estimated cost of about Rs 12,000 crore.
Historic day for Chandigarh: Dev
Adviser to UT Administrator Vijay Dev said Thursday was a historic day for Chandigarh as two projects lingering for years were put on fast track. Chandigarh, which is the first planned city, will now get one of India’s fist international standard railway stations with amenities of an airport. Secondly, Metro project whose foundation was laid by signing of MoU will greatly help in preserving the heritage of city beautiful by relieving the roads of traffic and pollution.
Kirron Kher still has reservations
Kher, who has opposed Chandigarh Metro earlier, said that signing of MoU was just a preliminary step. It would now go to the Central government where a lot of deliberation over funding would take place. If such a facility connected the region, it would be highly beneficial to the Tricity in the long run. “But I have reservations if it is made for the city alone. I am in favour of a fresh feasibility study before executing the project,” she said.