January 24, 2021 12:50:09 am
The Maharashtra government will have to approve afresh a proposal for extending an existing Metro corridor in Pune, two years after it was cleared, as the Union government has said it would not be able to contribute more than 10 per cent of the project cost.
According to sources, the fresh approval is necessary on account of the changes in the proposed funding arrangement between the Centre and the state for the project.
The previous BJP-led government in the state had in February 2019 granted a go-ahead to a Rs 1,100-crore 4.4-km long extension to the ongoing Pimpri Chinchwad to Swargate Metro route.
The Centre, which holds 50 per cent equity in the original Metro corridor, has conveyed that it won’t be in a position to contribute more than 10 per cent of the project’s construction cost.
On October 5, 2020, the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, had cited provisions of the Centre’s new Metro policy to cap the permissible grant to the new project to 10 per cent of the total construction cost.
In February 2019, then Devendra Fadnavis-led regime had approved the 4.4-km long extension. Following this, the state-run Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) — the nodal agency for the project — had submitted the proposal to the Union ministry for its approval.
After a series of communications, the Centre, last October, wrote to the agency, making it clear that the financial assistance in the form of grants to the new project will be limited to 10 per cent of the construction cost. Besides the cap, the Centre has also sought some revisions in the project’s design to reduce the overall costs.
The plan is to extend the Metro route from the Pimpri Chinchwad municipal headquarters to Nigdi, with three new elevated stations at Chinchwad, Akurdi and Nigdi. It also involves development of inter-nodal integration, a pedestrian bridge and a new parking facility, among other amenities.
Following the Centre’s communication, sources said MMRCL has revised the funding model for the project, and proposed an enhanced allocation from the state’s budget to it. On account of the revision of the model, a fresh nod will soon be sought from the state Cabinet, sources added.
The Pune Metro project was first approved in 2016. In 2020-21, Finance Minister Ajit Pawar, who hails from Pune, had earmarked Rs 1,657 crore for various Metro works in the city, but spend curbs put in place in view of the Covid-19 pandemic have hit the fund flow.
The Centre and the state are already at odds over the relocation of the Mumbai Metro Line 3 (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) from Aarey to Kanjurmarg.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines