Unending Saga Of Guwahati Metro: Rs 6.85 Cr Wasted On DPR Preparation
The ambitious Guwahati Metro Rail Project is in a state of inertia and appears to be moving nowhere.
Since the announcement in 2016, time and again in the last three years, noises are made by politicians about the project but on ground it has not moved an inch beyond some repeated paper work.
Just a week back, industries minister Chandra Mohan Patowary added a new twist to the unending saga by adding another route: Kamakhya-Narengi.
But the moot point: a project that was envisioned by our political masters in 2012-13 state annual budget has not been able to come out of the paper web cycle six years down the line.
Till date, an amount of Rs 6.85 crores has been spent only on setting up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and preparing the Detailed Project Report (DPR), Comprehensive Plan Mobility (CMP), Alternative Analysis of the project by a third party.
Adding to that is the additional Rs 60-70 lakhs that was spent in the foundation stone laying ceremony of the project on February 29, 2016 by the previous Congress government. Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was in such a hurry to gift the metro to Guwahatians that he went ahead with the project without getting the Centre’s approval which is mandatory for starting any metro project anywhere in the country.
“I have no idea when the actual work will start. We are reviewing the project and only the minister can tell you when it will happen on the ground,” a senior government official involved with the Guwahati Metro Project told G Plus on the condition of anonymity.
Proposed to be implemented by the Special Purpose Vehicle, Guwahati Metro Rail Corporation Limited, the Rs 1,820 crore project was initially planned to be completed in phases after getting necessary loan approvals from the Centre and other funding agencies. The previous Congress government went ahead without the foundation stone laying ceremony and without getting any loan approvals. Similarly, after the BJP came to power in 2016, the first thing the new government did with the project was to ask for a review of the earlier DPR and delay the process further.
And then came the new Metro Rail Policy in 2017, which provided for rigorous assessment of new metro proposals and proposed an independent third party assessment by agencies to be identified by the government like the Institute of Urban Transport and other such centres of excellence.
It makes a shift from the present “Financial Internal Rate of Return of 8 per cent to Economic Internal Rate of Return of 14%” for approving metro projects, in line with global practices and mandates transit oriented development (TOD) to promote compact and dense urban development along metro corridors.
States are required to adopt innovative mechanisms to mobilize resources for financing metro projects. The three options for availing central assistance include: public private partnership (PPP) with central assistance under the viability gap funding scheme of the ministry of finance; grant by centre under which 10% of the project cost will be given as lump sum central assistance and 50:50 equity sharing model between central and state governments. Under all these options, private participation, however, is mandatory.
“There is no study of the traffic movement in Guwahati. And under new conditions of the centre assessment part has become much tougher. It needs strong political will and the right people to push ahead with the project. Otherwise the project will be in a state of limbo forever,” senior official said.
Status Report on Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS), Guwahati
(1) The Feasibility report for Guwahati MRTS was completed by RITES in March, 2015 for total corridor length of 203 kms in three phases and completed DPR (Phase-I) for total length of 62.95 kms in January, 2016. The state cabinet, on 22/02/2016, has approved DPR (Phase-I) for MRTS and state-owned Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) namely Guwahati Metro Rail Corporation Limited to carry forward the implementation of rail-based MRTS for Guwahati city.
Detailed Project Report (DPR) for Phase-I is prepared for total length 61.4 kms. Phase-I will have 4 corridors:
Corridor-1: Dharapur– Narangi (Elevated) = 22.6 kms
Corridor-2: MG Road to Khanapara (Underground) = = 10.0 kms
Corridor-3: Jalukbari to Khanapara (Elevated) = 19.4 kms
Corridor-4: ISBT to Paltan Bazar (Elevated) = 9.4 kms
(2) The DPR was sent to union ministry of urban development (MoUD) in May, 2016. The MoUD has advised the state government to resubmit the proposal along with an updated Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP). The Guwahati CMP was prepared in 2009.
(3) The state cabinet, in January 2017, suggested some changes and asked GMDA to recast of DPR (Phase-I) for Rail based MRTS. The government instructed GMDA to prepare DPR for additional metro corridors from Dharapur to Guwahati Airport and Jalukbari to North Guwahati.
(4) In the meanwhile the government of India has adopted Metro Rail Policy, 2017 and advised the states to submit MRTS proposals accordingly. As per the new policy the project DPR requires Alternative Analysis (AA). In case of Guwahati, a CMP is also required.
(5) On approval of government of Assam, RITES has been awarded the preparation of the Comprehensive Mobility Plan and Alternative Analysis Report for Guwahati on nomination basis for the CMP @ Rs 1.25 crores (excluding taxes) and AA reports @ Rs 35.00 lakhs (excluding taxes). The timeline for CMP is 4 months and AA report is 2 months. RITES’s present scope for the CMP study is for the proposed delineated Guwahati Metropolitan Region of 3,450 sq kms.
(6) During the review meeting of the presentation of the inception report of the CMP, held on 03/12/2018 under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary, Guwahati Development Department (GDD), RITES was enquired by Principal Secretary, GDD about the inclusion of traffic impact study from Assam State Capital Region Development Authority (ASCRDA) region in the present scope of CMP and also to submit proposal and cost implications for the study. The ASCRDA area is approximately 6,100 sq kms covering five districts namely Kamrup Metropolitan, Kamrup, Nalbari, Darrang and Morigaon. RITES informed that since the traffic study for the CMP is for the Guwahati Metro Region the inclusion of the traffic impact study from ASCRDA area can be done at very reasonable rate and time.
(7) RITES submitted the time addition of about one month in study duration and cost implications would be additional fee of Rs 25 lakhs.
(8) RITES now have been informed to continue their preparation of CMP & AA as per earlier scope of work and not to include ASCRDA area.
(9) RITES have submitted the interim report of CMP & selection criteria of AA.