Andhra can save 10,000 crs if it can push Vijayawada and Vizag Metros under centre’s special package

vijayawada-vizag-metro-rail-latest-newsIt is time for Andhra government to do some heavy lobbying with the centre. If it succeeds it can save almost 10,000 crores with respect to two very important infra projects – Vijayawada and Vizag Metros.

Going by the Andhra Pradesh Re-organisation Act, the Centre is actively considering the establishment of the Metro Rails in Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali urban area. While the total cost of the projects is over Rs 20,000 crore, the external aid component is over Rs 10,000 crore which will be borne by the Centre once the proposed Special Package is given the final touches and legal sanctity.

As per the Finance Ministry’s commitment letter (posted on the Ministry’s website on September 8 – See the copy here) detailing the Special Assistance to Andhra Pradesh announced by the Central Government on September 7, 2016, the Centre is keen on the establishment of the metro rails. The fourth item of the seventh point states, “The Government of India is actively considering proposals for the establishment of the Metro Rail in Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali urban area.” Development of rapid rail and road connectivity between the new capital of AP with Hyderabad and other cities in the region is also a part of the commitment noted in the item. Though the proposed commitments are yet to be given legal sanctity, Union I&B Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Y.S. Chowdary, at a couple of public meetings, exuded confidence that A.P. would get more than what was promised as part of Special Category Status.

Amaravati Metro Rail Corporation (AMRC) Managing Director N.P. Ramakrishna Reddy said that the metro rail projects were the Central Sector Projects and were classified as externally aided ones. “These projects are to be covered under special package under which 90 per cent of the loan taken from external agency will be paid back by the GOI and only the remaining 10 per cent is expected to be paid by the State government,” he said.

Added to the qualification, Chief Minister  Naidu is also very keen on the projects. For the record, Mr. Naidu wrote to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in January and sought 100 per cent Central assistance for the projects as the State finances are running in deficit. As of now, the State government has already released Rs. 300 crore for the land acquisition needed for Vijayawada Metro’s first corridor. “The amount meant for land acquisition is in Collector’s account. It’s just a matter of time, both the Centre and State are now in a mood to expedite the projects,” said a source in the government.
Source: The Hindu
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