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Govt takes a relook at metro rail project

By Rituraj Borthakur

GUWAHATI, Nov 29 - The new BJP-led government is taking a relook at the phasing and number of corridors of the ambitious metro rail project in Guwahati, the foundation stone for which was laid by the previous Congress government on the eve of the last Assembly elections.

The government is re-examining if all the four corridors outlined in the first phase of the three-phase mass rapid transit system (MRTS) is required or if their number needs to be reduced. It is also reconsidering the phasing of the project.

�Depending on the viability, feasibility and traffic demand, the government will take a call,� nodal agency Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority�s chief executive officer Ashutosh Agnihotri told The Assam Tribune.

�The costing is an issue. The State will have to bear 20 per cent of the cost. We want maximum value for the money. Price competitive options are being explored,� a government official privy to the developments said.

There are indications that the government may scrap the number of corridors and go for a realignment.

Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had laid the foundation stone of the project on the eve of the last Assembly elections.

According to the earlier DPR, which was sent to the Central Government, the cost of the mega project was estimated at Rs 18,020 crore. The project, to be implemented by State Government-owned Guwahati Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (GMRC), was scheduled to be completed in five years.

According to the previous plan, the total length of the metro corridor was 203 km and it was to be executed in three phases. The earlier plan had taken into consideration traffic demand forecast up to 2045, it was claimed.

The phase 1 of the project was 61.4 km in length and it had four corridors � 22.6-km Dharapur-Narangi (elevated), 10-km MG Road-Khanapara (underground), 19.4-km Jalukbari-Khanapara (elevated) and 9.4-km ISBT-Paltanbazar (elevated) � comprising as many as 54 stations.

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