Delhi Metro has set in motion the process of developing a three-km link between Central Secretariat and Mandi House by 2014 primarily to decongest the over-crowded Rajiv Chowk station, even as it awaits the Centre’s nod for the project.

Part of its ambitious Phase-III, which envisages adding another 65 km to the Metro network in Delhi, the 3.2-km underground stretch with two stations - Janpath and Mandi House - is likely to be inaugurated at least a year before other lines of the project are opened in 2015.

The new stations in Mandi House and Janpath will reduce pressure on the Rajiv Chowk station, which sees a footfall of over 4 lakh everyday, and will provide another station for commuters in the shopping hub of Connaught Place.

The small stretch is part of the Central Secretariat-Red Fort Standard Gauge line, but the Delhi Metro wants the line to be completed till Mandi House first by 2014.

“This is a very important link to us. Our priority is to decongest the Rajiv Chowk station. So, the Board of Directors of the Delhi Metro decided to finish all preparatory works before the Phase-III is approved by the Centre,” Kumar Keshav, Director (Projects), Delhi Metro, told PTI on Saturday.

To save time pending the Centre’s nod, Delhi Metro has already completed the preliminary work like conducting topographical and geo-technical surveys, finalising the design for the new stations and floating tenders for construction of the stretch at a cost of Rs 400 crore, he said.

“Since these preliminary works will take almost six months, we thought of completing them now rather than starting them after getting the nod. We will save almost six months now. All preparatory works have been completed. Work on the 3.2-km stretch will begin immediately after the Centre’s nod,” he said.

Though the entire Phase-III has been approved by the Delhi Government, the Centre is yet to give its clearance for the project. The approval may come sometime next year.

The tenders for the line, which were called on November 4, will be opened soon and the contractor will be finalised in a month’s time, but it cannot be awarded till the Centre’s clearance comes, Mr. Keshav said.

While the civil work will cost Rs 450 crore, total cost of the entire 3.2-km corridor is Rs 800 crore that includes signalling and other works.

The Central Secretariat-Mandi House line, once completed, will be integrated with the Central Secretariat- Badarpur corridor, thus providing another link between East and South Delhi.

Special features of the Line is that a new station will come up adjacent to the existing Mandi House station and will act as a major interchange point for commuters on the Line 3 (Dwarka Sec-21 to Noida City Centre/Anand Vihar) and will reduce pressure on the Rajiv Chowk station.

Once the new station comes up, commuters coming from Noida and Anand Vihar do not have to go to Rajiv Chowk to board a train to South Delhi. They can board the train from the new Mandi House station.

Delhi Metro also decided to have a station in Janpath to further decongest Rajiv Chowk station. The station will be located somewhere near the Eastern and Western courts.

“This will act as the second station in Connaught Place and will help us decongesting the Rajiv Chowk station.

This station will be an important one,” Mr. Keshav said.

The train will depart from Central Secretariat, travel through Raisina Road, Janpath, Tolstoy Marg before terminating at Mandi House.

The new Mandi House station will be designed in such a way that passengers do not have to struggle much to get to the other side, Mr. Keshav said.

“We are trying to making things very easy for passengers at the Mandi House station. The interchange will be made very easy. It will be even more easier than the facility now available at the Central Secretariat station,” he said.

Once a new station is built at Mandi House, it will be integrated with the existing one like Metro did in the Central Secretariat station.

The Rajiv Chowk station handles over 4 lakh passengers a day and officials feel that it will reach its saturation point in another three-four years.

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

The routes on which the Metro has been 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 (44.85 km) and Ashok Park to Delhi Gate.

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