Special purpose vehicle likely to facilitate smooth transition post Chennai Metro-MRTS merger

Southern Railway had given its in-principle approval for the much-awaited merger in a high-level meeting last week

May 17, 2022 08:52 pm | Updated May 18, 2022 12:57 am IST - CHENNAI

Southern Railway will hand over the operations to Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) after which the State government will decide on other formalities

Southern Railway will hand over the operations to Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) after which the State government will decide on other formalities | Photo Credit: M. VEDHAN

A special purpose vehicle (SPV) is likely to be formed for managing the operations and administration of Chennai Metro Rail-Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) merger soon. This comes in the wake of Southern Railway giving its approval for Chennai Metro Rail taking over the operations of MRTS after years of discussion.

Sources said, as a first step in the Metro-MRTS merger, Southern Railway will hand over the operations to Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) after which the State government will decide on how the takeover will begin and the other formalities associated with it. While the State government will have 51% stake in the SPV, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) will take 49%.

In a high level meeting held last week, Southern Railway had given its in-principle approval for the much-awaited merger. “A timeline about when the hand over to CMDA will start and the whole process of transition has not been discussed so far. It will be done in the next meeting. But the Southern Railway will be prepared to support Chennai Metro Rail for however long the transition period is. Of course, we will employ some motormen trained for a specific number of hours for quite sometime,” a source said.

The long pending issue of acquiring land for laying the fourth line between Beach and Park station too was discussed in the meeting and that the State government would assist in the acquisition process was informed. “While most of it may be easier to acquire, there are two pieces of land which we think will be quite challenging to get,” he added.

Chennai Metro Rail was clear about not bearing the losses incurred by MRTS during the merger discussions, another source said. “The role of managing the operations of MRTS services alone will be carried out by Chennai Metro Rail. It will not extend to handling the administration or financial responsibilities. This is why an SPV will be formed,” he added.

In 2018, the consultant appointed by Chennai Metro Rail submitted the study for the merger after which there were several rounds of discussions between Chennai Metro, Southern Railway and the State government. If Chennai Metro Rail takes over the operations of MRTS, then multi-modal integration will function in a better way and will help commuters in moving from one mode of transport to another.

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