Chennai Metro rail in 3 years: Jaipal

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Chennai, Dec 18: Union Minister for Urban Development S Jaipal Reddy today said the Chennai Metro Rail will be operational in the next three years.

''The foundation stone for the Chennai Metro Rail will be laid next year,'' he told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar titled 'INFRA 2007 -- MAP Tomorrow's Chennai' organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The Centre and the Tamil Nadu Government will invest equally in the project with the balance funds raised from loans from a Japanese bank since the latter did not prefer the public-private-partnership (PPP) model.

''We are currently thinking of a 40-km stretch for which the total cost will be about Rs 7,000 crore to Rs 8,000 crore. ''Each kilometer on an elevator stretch will cost Rs 120 crore. Of the 40 km stretch, 14 km will be underground.

The Metro Rail Project would be implemented on a PPP Model in Mumbai and Hyderabad while in Chennai and Bangalore, both the State and the Centre would equally share the cost. Mr Reddy also disclosed Chennai would soon have the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) which could serve those parts of the city which were under development.

This was because the BRTS required exclusive six to eight lane roads which were possible only in those areas which were under development.

The system would be put in place with the participation of urban local bodies.

Mr Reddy said ''Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has shown interest in this regard and we are also eager to cooperate with the government.'' On the investment ratio for the BRTS, he said the Centre would share half the cost with the balance being borne by the State.

The Centre will also sanction more projects under the the Jawarhalal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), he revealed.

UNI

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