The Much Awaited Metro Plan is at Halt After Punjab’s Delay for a Depot

Chandigarh Metro Rail Project Delayed

Chandigarh’s metro plan which was a much-awaited development plan in Chandigarh is now delayed. This is due to Punjab’s lack of decision regarding the depot in New Chandigarh.

The building of a depot requires a 50 acres of land in New Chandigarh for the metro plan in the Tricity. Unfortunately, Punjab is unable to take any action on the matter. This depot is essential for the future inspection and maintenance of the Metro coaches. 

However, due to the lack of action by Punjab on the depot matter, the much-awaited and important Metro plan is delayed. The initial work on phase 1 of the metro project was about to start in April. Since the Punjab government has not yet given the green signal for the 50 acres of land for building a depot, the project is at a halt.

According to the Alternative Analysis Report introduced by the Rail India Technical and Economic Service, the project needs 50 acres of land for building the depot, without which the metro plan cannot proceed. 

Meanwhile, Chandigarh was super excited about the project and has been waiting for the final decision regarding it for months. The excitement turned sour when the Punjab government had no other option than to take action on the matter after the Lok Sabha elections. 

The depot matter is now scheduled after the elections phase ends in Punjab. The election phase will start on June 1 in Punjab and Chandigarh. The depot is a crucial point in the metro project as all the inspections and maintenance of the metro will be held here.

Chandigarh administration is highly disappointed with Punjab’s lack of responsibility. UT home secretary Nitin Yadav claimed that they had sent various reminders to the Punjab government regarding the depot. Unfortunately, they had not received any reply even after two months. Due to lack of accountability and clarification by the government on such a crucial matter, the Metro project was delayed.

 A model code of conduct is implemented in Punjab, due to the elections. Therefore, the senior officer who was looking over the project refused to state the matter. During a previous meeting of the 23-member Unified Metro Transportation Authority, he explained the cause of the delay. The land requirement for the depot was not yet approved by the Chief Minister, due to which the delay had occurred. Furthermore, the land was a big deal which was posing further delay. 

As an alternative, the Haryana government has approved the construction of a depot in Sector 27, Panchkula. Additionally, they have also submitted a proposal to the UT administration. However, without the depot, the project cannot have a detailed project report (DPR).

Meanwhile, in a UMTA meeting in December, the authorities decided to ask the central government whether the project should be elevated or underground. This will only be possible if the DPR is ready. Even though both Haryana and Punjab have released their plans for the DPR, the project is delayed greatly. 

Although the decision of the central government is uncertain, the UT has already made the decision. Both the network options have their cons- an elevated metro will impact the heritage of Chandigarh, whereas the cost for underground tracks will increase by 70%. 

The Chandigarh Heritage Conservation Committee held a meeting on January 5 regarding the matter. The sub-panel announced that the Metro project should be completely underground. The authority does not want to harm the heritage of the city. This decision was made keeping in mind the importance of it.

Even though the committee has given its decision, it will be forwarded to the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, for further approval. There are three corridors included in the Phase 1 of the project. These are listed in the Alignment Option Report. 

Among the three, one crossing the Madhya Marg in Chandigarh’s sectors 1 to 30, would be completely elevated. The other two would be elevated and underground. Phase 2 of the plan is also mostly elevated. However, if it will be taken completely underground, it will only increase the cost of the project. With nearly Rs. 8,000 crore extra, the project would cost up to Rs. 19,000 crore.

The main concern for now remains the 50 acres of land for the depot. As it is an essential part of the project, its delay has greatly shifted the metro plan which was about to start in April.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *