MEGA to put Gujarat on fast-track trajectory

MEGA to put Gujarat on fast-track trajectory
Sanjay Gupta, Executive Chairman, MetroLink Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA), shares how MEGA will help Gujarat in saving fuel consumption as well as reducing overall congestion on the roads and greenhouse emissions
How big is the MEGA project going to be for Gujarat and what are the benefits you are expecting?The project is in-line with the vision of the state government to put Gujarat on the path of fast-track growth. The project will be of 83 kilometres connecting all the important points of Ahmedabad like Kalupur railway station, civil hospital, airport and reaching to Gandhinagar for connecting GIFT City, Sachivalaya and Akshardham. It will include around 64 kilometres of elevated corridor and 19 kilometres of underground.
Thanks to the latest technology and design, passengers are expected to have a very comfortable, convenient journey. The project is also expected to generate several revenue opportunities for the project and state government which in turn will pave the way for further development.
At present, public transport accounts for only a small part of the transport used by the people in the region. This region is expected to grow rapidly, and this will need to be supported by a public and modern transportation network. With the development of metro rail project, the share of public transport is expected to increase substantially by 2041. At least 65 per cent of the total trips will be made by public transport. The metro expects to carry 2.16 million people by 2021 and 5 million people by 2041 daily. This will help in savings in fuel consumption and time, and reduce overall congestion on the roads as well as greenhouse emissions.
What makes this project different from other metro projects; can you brief us about some unique features of project?The MEGA metro rail project would be a pioneer of its kind in India due to the adoption of latest technology. A key feature of this project is that it will have a driverless train, thanks to the adoption of communication-based train technology. Another important feature of the project is monopole structures predominantly. The train will run on broad gauge of 1,676 mm with coaches having a wide body of 3.4 metres. The use of broad gauge will allow wider coach selection, resulting in higher passenger carrying capacity and lesser train length. This translates into savings in cost and construction time. Another important feature is 1500 V DC third rail traction system.
What is the projected cost of entire project and how is the funding arranged?The total cost of the project is Rs. 19,000 crore. The project is being developed on an EPC model with the funding comprising a mix of debt and equity. The equity component of 60 per cent will come in from the government while the remaining 40 per cent would be raised from debt. The Government of Gujarat has infused Rs. 550 crore as equity by March 31, 2013 in MEGA and have allotted further  Rs. 550 crore for the financial year 2013-14.What about issues related with land acquisition and how are you tackling it?There is no issue related to the project which can impact its construction and rollout.
What is the current status of project?Preliminary surveys such as topographical survey, soil investigation survey, detection of underground utility are completed. Traffic demand assessment on the entire network has been completed. Monopole (bilateral direction and vertical direction) test for finalising load for substructure has been conducted. Preliminary design for civil (substructure/superstructure), engineering alignment design, preliminary train operation plan, power load calculation etc. completed. Detailed design of depot and protecting structure has also been completed.
Utility shifting work on the full alignment, development of casting yard is in progress. Core infrastructure works will begin in 4th quarter of 2013. Appointment of general consultant and project management consultant is underway for which RFP is issued and under finalisation. Apart from this, environment impact assessment (EIA) study, sustainability study, transit oriented development and multimodal integration study are under way.
How supportive has been state government toward this project?The state government has been extremely supportive during the entire process. Apart from contributing equity, it has facilitated approvals. This project enjoys the state government’s support as it is in-line with its plans to put Gujarat on the path of fast-track growth.

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