Addressing members of a consultative committee attached to the Urban Development Ministry to deliberate on Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Union Minister Jaipal Reddy described the Delhi Metro as the “proudest achievement of modern India”.

Mr. Reddy said the Ministry has taken some decisions related to urban transport in order to help daily commuters and ease traffic congestion. He said the Metro Railway Amendment Act, 2009, has been enacted to amend the Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act, 1978, and the Delhi Metro (Operation and Maintenance) Act, 2002. These Acts can now be extended to all million plus cities in India.

The Minister said for the sake of standardisation and uniformity in safety certification, it has been decided that all metro rail projects, whether within one municipal area or beyond, shall be taken up only under these Central Acts. These Acts now stand extended to the complete National Capital Region, metropolitan areas of Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.

Referring to the expansion of the metro to several States across the country, he said the Union Cabinet has approved the Chennai Metro rail with a total cost of Rs.14,600 crore to be taken up as a joint venture between the Central Government and the Government of Tamil Nadu. As for the Bangalore Metro Rail Project, the Minister said the Union Government had sanctioned an extension of 9.3 km.

The Minister expressed hope that the metro’s extension to Noida will be commissioned within a week and said the works on the upcoming corridors were progressing satisfactorily and expected to be completed before the Commonwealth Games, 2010.

While most members of the consultative committee appreciated the work done by the DMRC, some members suggested that the fares for metro ride should be cheaper. A Lok Sabha member said there should be facility for free drinking water and toilets at all metro stations.

A detailed presentation on Delhi Metro was made by DMRC Managing Director E. Sreedharan. He said the Delhi Metro has become the first railway project in the world to be registered by the UN under the clean development mechanism which will enable it to claim carbon credits.

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