Andhra Pradesh Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi two days ago made a fresh plea for building metro rail systems in Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada. He told the Prime Minister that “a specific road map and an action plan has to be drawn and implemented” without further loss of time. On September 4, 2015, Naidu had set August 2018 as the deadline for completion of the first phase of the Vijayawada metro and December 2018 for Visakhapatnam metro. However, neither of the projects moved an inch since then and, in fact, the AP government had even dumped the plan to build a metro network at Vijayawada. Ironically, indecisiveness on part of the state government had been the main roadblock at least in the case of the Vijayawada metro, authoritative sources pointed out, adding that it could not get past the conceptual stage even after more than two and a half years. The state government first wanted to go for a (medium) metro rail and got a detailed project report (DPR) prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation in 2015. In July 2015, after scrutinizing the DPR, the Union Ministry of Urban Development found Vijayawada “ineligible” for a metro for a variety of reasons, including a meagre financial Internal Rate of Return of just 3. 47 per cent against the stipulated 8 per cent and above. But the Chandrababu government got it “sanctioned” citing a “political commitment” (made during the state’s bifurcation)from the Urban Development ministry which was at the time led by M Venkaiah Naidu. The Centre eventually “rejected” the Vijayawada Metro proposal in March 2017 saying it was “not financially viable”. ‘Metro Man E Sreedharan also quit as principal advisor to AP government in July 2017, compounding the chaos. In the meantime, the state government toyed with the idea of taking up a light rail system or an elevated bus rapid transit system for Vijayawada before finally settling for a light rail system. “The light rail technology (LRT) is more flexible and profitable than the metro system. The LRT system is one of the most avant-garde technologies operating in Germany and France while the metro train system is more rigid,” noted a senior official of the Amaravati Metro Rail Corporation, a special purpose vehicle floated by the state government. “We are now getting a DPR prepared for the LRT.
Source: Business Standard