T.N. CM Stalin writes to PM Modi over inordinate delay in Centre’s approval for Chennai Metro Phase II project

With no approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for over two years now, the CM said the T.N. government was carrying out the project with its own funds so far, which has resulted in slowing down the pace of the project and impacting the State’s finances

February 10, 2024 01:54 pm | Updated 07:39 pm IST - CHENNAI

A view of work ongoing for phase II of the Chennai Metro Rail project in Valasaravakkam, as seen a few months ago

A view of work ongoing for phase II of the Chennai Metro Rail project in Valasaravakkam, as seen a few months ago | Photo Credit: VELANKANNI RAJ B

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Saturday, February 10, 2024, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, highlighting the inordinate delay in the Government of India’s approval for Phase II of the Chennai Metro Rail (CMRL) project. He urged the PM to personally intervene and expedite approval under the 50:50 joint venture model between the State and Union governments.

Recalling the successful implementation of Phase I of the project as a 50:50 joint venture between the two governments, he said Tamil Nadu approved Phase II of the project under the same model, with three more corridors covering 119 km at a total cost of ₹ 63,246 crore.

Pointing out that this was recommended to the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) for its approval in January 2019, he said, with the recommendation of the MoHUA and NITI Aayog, funding approvals from agencies like the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and New Development Bank were also formalised.

The foundation stone for the Phase II project was laid by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on November 21, 2020. While the announcement for counterpart funding for the project was made in the 2021-22 Union budget and the Project Investment Board subsequently recommended the project as a Central Sector Project under equity sharing model in August 2021, Mr. Stalin said, unfortunately, no progress has been made since then in spite of him personally raising this issue with the PM during their meetings.

Mr. Stalin said the proposal has been awaiting the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for more than two years. Meanwhile, the State government has commenced work for Phase II in anticipation of the Union government’s approval to ensure timely completion of the project.

The project’s expenditure was being met so far from the State’s funds alone in the absence of CCEA approval. “This has slowed down the pace of works and has also placed a severe stress on State finances,” he said, adding that the issue needed to be addressed immediately.

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