Delhi Metro has fast-tracked its work on the Phase-III by making some “useful” changes to the project as suggested by the Delhi Government and will send a new detailed project report to it in the next 10 days, DMRC chief E. Sreedharan said on Friday.

The ambitious Phase-III project, which envisages adding another 65 km to the ever-increasing Metro network in the capital, was approved in-principle by the Delhi Government in October and suggested some amendments asking the DMRC to cover more areas which would cover Outer and Inner Ring Road.

Expressing hope that actual work on the Phase-III will begin in April 2011, Mr. Sreedharan said the top brass of the Planning Commission has called Delhi Metro officials for a meeting on January 13 to review the Phase-III project after which a final decision on the funding pattern will be taken.

“We welcome the changes suggested by the Delhi Government on the Phase-III project. We are happy to make them and we will be sending a detailed project report (DPR) to both Delhi and Central Governments in the next days,” the DMRC chief told reporters during an informal interaction on the 8th anniversary of metro operations in Delhi.

On the funding pattern, which has been a bone of contention for the Phase-III, Mr. Sreedharan said though no final decision has been taken it is most likely that the State and Central governments will share 40 per cent of the project cost.

“It will be like the two governments contributing 20 per cent each and the remaining 60 per cent of the cost will be raised through loan,” he said.

To a query on who would provide loan, Mr. Sreedharan said in all probability it would be funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency.

“But, they have not given any assurance (about funding) in writing. They will be willing because of the development and other things it (Metro) gives to the city,” he said.

Delhi Metro’s Phase-I and II were funded by the Delhi Government, Centre and JICA.

After the Planning Commission’s approval for the Phase-III, the project will be reviewed by an empowered committee of officials and will finally be approved by the Union Cabinet.

Mr. Sreedharan said the Delhi Metro has already begun undertaking geo-technical surveys, finalising station design and other preliminary work to save time.

“This is how Delhi Metro is different from other organisations. We will do all the preliminary work before the approval so that we don’t loose time then,” he said.

Under the Phase-III, there will be 23 interchange stations to ensure seamless interchange connectivity.

Delhi Government cleared three routes - from Central Secretariat to Red Fort (6.8 km), Rajouri Garden to Mukundupur (12.4 km) and Jahangir Puri to Badali (3.4 km) -- as suggested by the Metro in October.

The routes on which the Metro was asked to rework are Anand Vihar to Dhaula Kuan to be extended till Rajouri Garden, Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar via Jamia Nagar, Pitampura, Badli and a few other stations to Noida and Ashok Park to Delhi Gate.

Mr. Sreedharan said it is a “matter of great pride” that Delhi Metro now has a network of nearly 200 km in just eight years after beginning its journey with just eight km.

“Wherever I go, not only in the country but abroad also, I get a lot of queries on the Delhi Metro. I also get around 10 to 12 letters everyday some complaining about the technical glitches and some giving suggestions,” the 77-year-old ‘Metro Man’ said.

Delhi Metro takes these suggestions “very positively and in a sportive manner”.

On the technical glitches in metro line, he said the problems have been identified and will be rectified soon.

“In a month’s time, the technical glitches will be solved,” he said.

Mr. Sreedharan also listed the initiatives being taken by the Delhi Metro to reduce over-crowding like the introduction of six-coach trains.

“The six-coach trains have just been introduced and they have been successful. We will be inducting more trains into the system regularly,” he said.

He also said after Line 3 (Dwarka Sec-21 to Noida City Centre/Anand Vihar), the six-coach trains will also be introduced on Line 2 (Jehangirpuri to HUDA City Centre). The two lines together see a ridership of 12 lakh during weekdays.

Mr. Sreedharan said the Delhi Metro is trying to introduce at least one six-coach train every week to ease the ever-increasing rush.

To a specific query, he said in the past eight years there has not been a major change in the system in Delhi Metro.

“But, I think there may be a change in the signalling system. But we have to see whether it is cost effective. If it is very costly, then...,” he said when asked whether the Metro will see any system change in the next 10 years.

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