The Chandigarh Metro Rail Project, which was a proposed rapid transit system in the union territory, has been running late behind its schedule. It was proposed nearly two years back, but as per reports there is a delay in its construction.
According to the proposal by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the Chandigarh metro line was to span around 37.69 km. It was expected to be completed by the year 2018. But, as per reports there is a delay in its construction as the governments of Punjab and Haryana have not given their consent over this. The two governments have not expressed their consent to the terms and conditions of the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and therefore, they are not able to form the special purpose vehicle (SPV) for its execution. The terms and conditions of the MoUD were circulated to the stakeholders and they began to work on SPV’s formulation, but they failed to make any headway so far.
An SPV is a legal body which is established to implement specific projects and disconnects the stakeholders or the governing authorities from any financial and operational risks. In this project, the officials appointed to the SPV are to specifically deal with metro only and ensure that there are no hurdles in this project. However, this would not be implied here as the stakeholders do not agree to the terms and conditions yet.
It is reported that this delay can result in cost escalation. According to the report, Rs. 3,832 crore was the estimated cost of the first corridor in January 2012. But now, the cost can escalate manifold as the route which has been framed for this project is mostly underground. The total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs. 10,900 crore and will be shared by the Centre, governments of Haryana and Punjab, and the administration of Chandigarh. The three stakeholders were to stake 25% each, while the rest of the 25% was to be financed by the Centre.
The financial feasibility of the rail project is also under scrutiny of the Centre. According to a study by Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES), this project will not be financially viable due to inadequate projected peak-hour, peak-direction traffic (PHPDT). The study says that it will reach the expected figures by the year 2051. The government of Haryana needs to take serious steps in this matter. The delay in this project can affect both the public and the government. The people of Chandigarh must be facing difficulties such as traffic issues due to the construction work in the city. On the other hand, the government will have to bear more expenses as the delay will increase the cost and expenditure. Moreover, this project is proposed for the convenience and benefit of the people of the city, and due to this delay, they will be forced to wait for long to make use of these services.