14 Sep 2012

Centre to Support Metro Rails in Major Cities – Kamal Nath

Kochi:The Foundation-stone of Kochi Metro was laid by the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh at Kochi, Kerala today. While speaking on the occasion Union Urban Development Minister, Shri Kamal Nath said that the Government of India has decided to support Metro Rails for all the cities of the country having a population of more than 2 Million.
He said that efficient and reliable urban transport systems are crucial for India to sustain a high growth rate and alleviate poverty. To improve the current urban transport situation the Government is giving much attention to Metro projects. Metro projects are already under implementation across the country - Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Jaipur. 
Following is the text of the speech of Shri Kamal Nath at the Foundation-stone laying ceremony of Kochi Metro: 
“It is a pleasure to be in the city of Kochi today for the laying of the foundation stone of the Kochi Metro Rail Project. This is a fitting tribute to the ongoing “Emerging Kerala” programme taking place in Kochi. With this, Kochi will join the select list of cities where Metro projects are under implementation. For this, I would like to thank the Hon’ble Prime Minister who has been a great champion of the Kochi Metro Rail project, the Chief Minister of Kerala, the Ministers from Kerala in the Govt. of India, who relentlessly pushed for this and Mr. A. K. Antony, the Hon’ble Defence Minister, who conceived and envisioned this project. 
The Kochi Metro Rail Project from Alwaye to Petta (Tripunithura) of 25.3 km will be fully elevated and has a total completion cost of Rs. 5,181 crore. The project will be implemented through joint ownership SPV of Govt of India and Govt of Kerala and is scheduled to be completed in 4 yrs. This will have the most modern fourth generation technology, after the experience gained from Metro Projects in Delhi and Chennai. The implementation mode will be decided by the Center and State Government in a transparent manner. Kochi Metro is unique as it provides multi-modal integration with roads and water ways. 
India is urbanising rapidly. India’s urban population has increased from 285 million in 2001 to 400 million in 2011 and by 2030 is likely to reach over 600 million. The number of towns has increased from 5161 in 2001 to 7935 in 2011. Even at this relatively low level of urbanization (31%), India has the second largest urban population in the world.
The urban centres have emerged as engines of economic activity. The urban sector contributes around 60% of GDP which is likely to further increase to over 70% in the next decade. Over 70% of the new jobs are expected to be created in the cities. 
Efficient and reliable urban transport systems are crucial for India to sustain a high growth rate and alleviate poverty. To improve the current urban transport situation the Government of India is giving much attention to Metro projects. Metro projects are already under implementation across the country - Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Jaipur. The Government of India has decided to support DPR preparation for Metro Rails for all cities having a population of more than 2 Million. 
Another mode of Mass Transport System that needs to be explored is Mono-rails. I am informed that Mono rails is ideal as a feeder system to larger metro networks as well as for stand-alone shorter networks in the densely populated pockets of cities. One Mono-rail corridor has already been identified in Delhi and work has been entrusted to DMRC. 
The cities of Calicut and Thiruvananthapuram are also keen on setting up Mono rails. Calicut proposes a Mono rail of 14 Km length at a cost of Rs.1600 crore and Thiruvananthapuram proposes to have a Mono rail of 24 Km at a cost of Rs. 2500 crore. In principal approval has already been accorded to Calicut Mono rail and I would urge the Chief Minister to take-up this Mono rail project on priority and entrust its implementation to Kochi Metro. 
In order to make urban travel a more pleasant experience, Government of India sanctioned buses with superior specifications to cities. Kerala has been sanctioned 350 buses (200 for Kochi and 150 for Thiruvananthapuram) with a total project cost of Rs.124 crore. The Additional Central Assistance i.e. Govt. of India share is Rs.78.22 crore. 
A major step taken to address the Urban Infrastructure deficit in the country was the launch of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) by the Government of India in the year 2005. This was a reforms linked central assistance for development of urban infrastructure. In the first phase of JnNURM, 36 projects have been sanctioned for Kerala at an approved cost of Rs 1425 crore, with Central Assistance of Rs 997 crore. 
In Kochi, a total of six projects at a total cost of Rs. 509 crore have been sanctioned. Four projects have been sanctioned in basic sectors, one each in water supply, drainage, sewerage and solid waste management. One project each has been sanctioned in road & transport sector and urban renewal. 
We are now in the process of finalising the next phase of the Urban Renewal mission. We are keen to explore innovative means to raise resources such as monetization of land and would like to encourage Public Private Partnership and Viability Gap Funding. 
A major reform that the State governments need to carry out is in the area of capacity building. We would like each State to create a Municipal Cadre so that our efforts at Urban infrastructure development are more effective and sustainable. 
Before I conclude I would like to once again congratulate the people of Kochi and Kerala on this momentous day”. 

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