Nagpur harbours the metro dream

The dream of having a Metro Rail in the second capital of Maharashtra is gradually taking shape.

The Union Urban Development Ministry has assigned the job of preparing a detailed project report (DPR) to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which has already executed a project in the national capital successfully.

The Maharashtra Government has already appointed the Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT), a civic development authority here, as Nodal agency for developing the Metro Rail project for Nagpur, sources said adding the total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 8,000 crore.

The DMRC will require nearly six months to prepare the report and are likely to cut the period. The total length of the route will be 37 kms from one end in north to other in south. Nagpurians are looking for a dependable, affordable and most importantly timing saving mass rapid transport system.

Meanwhile, a demand has cropped up here for shifting out the Central Prisonl in 125 acres bang in the heart of the city on busy National Highway (Nagpur-Wardha). The land thus freed can be used for building modern urban infrastructure like an underground plaza station for the proposed Metro rail network, an international convention centre, a modern market or a large auditorium.

City MP Vilas Muttemwar has written to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in this regard and urged him to convene a meeting especially to discuss the developmental projects in the city. Chavan has agreed to do so after the Budget Session of the State Assembly is over.

"The Central Jail is over a century old and squats over prime land within the city. Looking at the growing needs of the fast expanding city, it is high time the State Government at least commissioned an expert consultant to prepare a techno-feasibility report on shifting the jail and using its land for meeting the city's needs for a large market, a metro junction etc," Muttemwar, who is also General Secretary, AICC wrote to Chavan.

"Though booming, the Sitabuldi market is now saturated. There is scope for developing a large alternative market place with ample parking places. Besides, pending demand for a world-class convention centre could not be met till date as the Panjabrao Agriculture University is not willing to spare any of its 700 acres of test-farmlands in the city," he said.

A new jail with better facilities could be built outside the city, he added.

"The proposal for jail shifting was moved when the city was celebrating its tercentenary some years back. But it was never taken seriously. Now with the Metro rail network okayed for the city, the move would make more sense as large space would be required for building a central metro station," Muttemwar said.

He said the Chief Minister has agreed to hold a meeting of all stakeholders to discuss the issue threadbare.

Asked if the jail land is suitable for a Metro Rail junction, adjacent to Ajni Railway Station in southern part of city, a top official of the Nagpur Improvement Trust said, "Its too early to say that."

"We are now at the survey stage for the network. Moreover, the exact route of the metro rail has to be finalised," he said.

Muttemwar ALSO reminded Chavan of his promise made during recent election manifesto for Municipal Corporation elections held in February that the city would be developed like Singapore.

Citing a report that Nagpur and Surat are two Indian cities with immense potential for development in the next few years, he said a perspective plan keeping in view the infrastructural needs till 2050 should be prepared.

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