|Decks have been cleared for Lucknow Metro, with safety clearances coming through last week. By March 2019, the country’s operational metro network will nearly double.|
Other than Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Nagpur will join the club. India got its first metro in 1984. In next 33 years, 370 km of metro rail became operational. But in next 20 months - by March 2019 - 313 km will be added to this.
“In last three years there has been 258% hike in budgetary provision for metro projects, which has enabled this speed in construction. So if between 2012-2015 we were spending only ₹16,565 crore, between 2015-18 we have spent ₹42,696 crore,” said a senior Urban Development Ministry official.
Currently, metro runs only in eight cities - Delhi (217 km), Bengaluru (42.30 km), Kolkata (27.39 km), Chennai (27.36 km), Jaipur (9 km), Kochi (13.30 km), Mumbai Metro Line 1 (11.40 km), Mumbai Mono Rail Phase 1 (9 km) and Gurugram Rapid Metro (11.60 km).
The Commissioner for Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) has last week accorded clearance for commercial operation of the first phase of Luncknow Metro between Transport Nagar and Charbagh (8.50 km).
Lucknow Metro was one of the key poll planks of Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav. His successor Yogi Adityanath will now be inaugurating it in the next few days.
Last week, the Union Cabinet announced a new Metro Rail Policy making private investments mandatory. In turn, the Central government will cut back on monetary help it provided for the projects. The State governments will have far more share of the responsibility financially as well as about the operational details.