The Union Cabinet has approved the metro rail project finally. The metro rail project which is forward looking, will modernise transport in many cities. Not just the bigger ones, but 10 new cities are going to get metro rail very soon. Visakhapatnam and Vijaywada are on the list and we are very happy. While the discussion about the metro in Vizag is not new, the cabinet proposal is expected to speed things up.
What is new?
The Union Development Ministry has devised the policy with a ‘Make in India’ approach. The aspirations of various cities has been accommodated. The role of private players has been worked into the policy. Development of urban areas and surrounding economic zones will be an area of stress. The modalities of profit making and efficiency has been incorporated to make this viable.
- Apart from the financial aspects, the intangible environment and safety factors have been included.
- Unlike the prior rate of 8% as financial rate of return, it is 14% now.
- State governments have been asked to review and evaluate other transport modes i.e buses, trams and light rails.
- Private paticipation is facilitated in the operation and maintenance of the metro rail system. This is aimed at mitigating losses and increasing financial viability.
- An additional tax called ‘betterment levy’ has been added.
- States called upon to ensure better urban development along metro corridors.
- States will make rules and regulations and set up fare fixation and review.
- The policy has included third party evaluation by competent authorities such as Institute of Urban Transport etc.
Future aspects and profitability: A Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority has been made mandatory for taking charge of the project. States have also been encouraged to ensure that the areas surrounding the metro are developed. The non-fare revenue generation aspect has been stresssed upon. The state governments will look into commercial developments at the station. To negate the aspect of delay in implementation, all permissions and approvals will have to be accorded in advance by the state.
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