Metro rail project rekindles hope for Coimbatore

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman mentioning metro rail for tier two cities in the 2021-22 Union Budget has revived hope in the city for having the mass transport facility.

In her Budget speech, Ms. Sitharaman said, “Two new technologies i.e., ‘MetroLite’ and ‘MetroNeo’ will be deployed to provide metro rail systems at much lesser cost with same experience, convenience and safety in Tier-2 cities and peripheral areas of Tier-1 cities.”

This is an opportunity that the State government and Coimbatore Corporation should not miss. In fact, they must go all out to bring home the project to Coimbatore, what with they missing the first opportunity 10 years ago when the then Central government included Coimbatore in the list of tier two cities that were eligible for the mass rapid transport project, say those interested in the city’s development.

The only way the government and the Corporation can undo the damage they did by failing to implement a mass transport project in the city is by using the Budget announcement to implement the project, says MDMK’s Youth Wing Secretary V. Eswaran.

The reason for the delay or failure in implementing a metro project in the city is the government changing the nature of public transport based on the whims and fancies of those in power, he says and points out that first it was metro rail, then the government changed it to mono rail and now it is back to metro rail.

In the 10 years since the Central government included Coimbatore in the list of eligible cities what has happened is that cities like Kochi that were behind Coimbatore in the list have marched ahead, he points out.

Not surprisingly, in the Budget Ms. Sitharaman has announced ₹ 1,957.05 crore financial assistance for Phase II of Kochi Metro Rail project for 11.5 km.

Referring to the assistance for Kochi, District Road Safety Committee member and consumer activist K. Kathirmathiyon says the advantage that the Kerala is having over Coimbatore because of metro rail and international airport will only grow if the State government does not act fast.

Whether it is metro or metro lite or metro neo, the government must decide at once and start implementation. For, the project has been on the drawing board for long enough.

Not just that; the delay in finalising the metro rail project for Coimbatore is also impacting important road development or flyover construction projects because the State Highways Department wants to know the metro route alignment before starting ground work, he adds.

Vanitha Mohan, Vice Chairperson, Kongu Global Forum, says for Coimbatore to not go the Bengaluru way with more flyovers, more vehicles, frequent traffic jams and more pollution, a mass transport project in the nature of metro rail is a must.

With the city set to witness more vehicles and more traffic congestions because of increase in business, it is imperative that the State governments implements the metro rail project for the city. And, to this end, the Forum will demand political parties to include it as a promise in their election manifesto for the ensuing Assembly election, she adds.

Sources in the district administration say that the feasibility study for a mass transport project is complete and a high-level discussion is taking place. Very soon, there will be an announcement in this regard.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 2:46:05 AM |

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