The Centre has decided to support the preparation of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for metro rail projects in all 19 cities with populations over 2 million.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here that DPRs for such projects have already been prepared for 12 cities.
Speaking after laying the foundation stone for the Kochi Metro Rail project on Thursday, the Prime Minister said that metro rail projects are currently under implementation in seven cities and these would cover a network of 476 km at a cost of more than Rs 1.15 lakh crore.
Kochi will be the eighth Indian city with a metro network under construction. The 25-km Kochi Metro will cost more than Rs 5,180 crore, out of which the Central Government’s share will be about Rs 1,000 crore, he said.
He pointed out that 28 per cent of the population lives in towns and cities and by 2031, this is expected to go up to 40 per cent, numbering 60 crore people. Thus, an efficient public transport system is a service that is critical to the orderly growth and development of Indian cities.
It helps to meet challenges like traffic congestion, air pollution and the high rate of accidents on roads, he added.
However, metro rail is just one component of an efficient public transport system. “We need to build in our cities multimodal transport systems that efficiently integrate different modes of public transport like buses and trains,” he said.
Singh said that the Urban Development Ministry has taken several initiatives to promote sustainable transport practices in the country. These include support to metro rail projects, bus rapid transport systems and sanction of city buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
The Central Government is also providing assistance for implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit System project in 11 cities with a network of over 437 km at a cost of more than Rs 5,500 crore. Under JNNURM, the Government has sanctioned over 15,000 low-floor and semi-low floor buses for mission cities at a total cost of over Rs 4,700 crore.
As many as 200 buses have been sanctioned for Kochi alone, he said, adding that the Government has committed over Rs 2,000 crore of assistance for the JNNURM buses.