The government is set to approve national standard specifications for Metro Neo, a no-frills, low-cost urban rail transit system aimed at cities with population of less than 10 lakh or suburbs of bigger cities.
Officials said the approval paves the way for state governments and urban local bodies to design proposals as per their requirements. “We are approving it. It will be beneficial, especially for smaller cities, as a cheap and no-frills Metro system,” Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs told The Indian Express.
Running on rubber tyres but drawing traction power from overhead wires, Metro Neo systems are lighter and smaller than conventional Metro trains — with a 10-tonne axle load instead of the normal 17 tonnes. “It is suitable for places where the traffic demand is around 8,000 passengers one way in peak time,” sources said.
They said that Metro Neo costs about 25 per cent of conventional systems but with similar facilities, and is cheaper than the other budget option Metrolite, which costs about 40 per cent of the normal Metro.
Officials said cities like Maharashtra’s Nashik and Telangana’s Warangal have pitched for Metro Neo systems. While Warangal’s plans are still on the drawing board, Nashik is planning a 33-km stretch with 30 stations, and its proposal, under Maharashtra Metro, is being processed by the Urban Affairs Ministry.
The approval of specifications comes in the run-up to the 13th Urban Mobility India conference on November 9, which is the Government’s annual platform for global and domestic stakeholders to engage on best practices in urban development. “The modern concept of urban mobility is to move people instead of moving vehicles,” Mishra said.
According to the Government’s blueprint, 910 km of Metro projects of various kinds are proposed to be built across the country in the next five years to take the total to around 1,600 km.
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