Announcement of the Rs 8,500-crore mega Light Rail Transit Systems for the two capital cities — Jammu and Srinagar — is likely to transform urban transport in the state, placing Jammu and Kashmir among the few selected metros of India to have such modern corridors. The Government is all set to introduce light metro rail projects (Jammu & Srinagar Light Metro).
Dheeraj Gupta, Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department, Jammu & Kashmir While talking to Sumit Hakhoo of The Tribune, Dheeraj Gupta, Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department, who is keenly involved in the preparation of the detailed project report (DPR) is upbeat about its social impact and giving residents of the state a masterpiece of technology to change their way of travel. Read here the excerpts from his interview:-
How soon will the work on the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) project start?
Mr. Dheeraj Gupta: We will complete the DPR in the next few weeks and submit it to the Government of India for approval. This is part of the national project under which more than a dozen cities across the country will get such light rail transport corridors. So, it is a priority project for both state and the Centre. Two Mass Rapid Transit Corporations (MRTCs) have started the groundwork.
Infra developmental projects mostly get delayed in J&K due to hurdles. Will this system overcome administrative obstacles?
Mr. Gupta: The State Administrative Council (SAC) on June 7 approved the elevated corridor option for the Jammu & Srinagar light metro project. There will be minimum dislocation of people and need for land, which are the main reasons for delays in such projects. With the appointment of E Sreedharan, the metro man, for the project, we have no doubt that it will be completed in the stipulated timeframe. World-class benchmarks will be adhered to while implementing the plan.
What about funding such a huge project?
Mr. Gupta: The first priority is getting approval from the Government of India. Options are open for multilateral funding agencies to be part of the project, apart from central assistance. The Centre too is pushing for such mass rapid transport corridors as part of futuristic vision so funds would not be a problem.
What about Metropolitan Region Development Authorities (MRDA)?
Mr. Gupta: It is part of urban development plan, to think two to three decades ahead. Jammu and Srinagar, the two capital cities of J&K, are growing rapidly. The MRDAs are for futuristic and coordinated development. The J&K Metropolitan Region Development Authorities Act, 2018, was implemented by the State Administrative Council (SAC) in December 2018 and creation of Jammu, Srinagar Metropolitan Region Development Authority is part of the effort.
What role will they play in J&K?
Mr. Gupta: Authorities will prepare infrastructure development plans to guide the annual investments in creating infrastructure for future needs. They will act as consultant to municipal corporations and deputy commissioners to formulate a comprehensive mobility management plan, for increasing green cover, water conservation, waste water treatment and adoption of renewable sources of energy.