India and ADB sign $250 million loan agreement for Delhi-Meerut RRTS Corridor

Vinod Shah Posted on: 2023-12-19 06:05:00 Viewer: 2,813 Comments: 0 Country: India City: New Delhi

India and ADB sign $250 million loan agreement  for Delhi-Meerut RRTS Corridor

New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): In a significant stride towards enhancing urban mobility in the Delhi-NCR region, the Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) joined forces on 15th December 2023. The collaboration culminated in the signing of a substantial 37 billion Japanese Yen ($250 million) loan agreement, earmarked for the continued financing of the expansive 82-kilometre Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) corridor.

The agreement, inked by Ms. Juhi Mukherjee, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India, and Mr. Hoe Yun Jeong, Deputy Country Director, and Officer-in-Charge of the India Resident Mission for ADB, solidifies the commitment to the transformative project.

ADB's Ongoing Support

This financial infusion follows ADB's earlier approval of a $1,049 million Multi-tranche Financing Facility (MFF) for the RRTS project in 2020. The RRTS, a pivotal component of the NCR Regional Plan 2021, aims to connect Delhi with neighboring cities through three priority rail corridors. Notably, the initial tranche of the ADB loan, amounting to $500 million, was further bolstered by an additional $500 million in co-financing from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

A Green Approach to Urban Connectivity

Ms. Mukherjee emphasized the far-reaching impact of this investment, foreseeing improved urban mobility and socio-economic benefits, particularly for women and differently-abled individuals. She highlighted the project's contribution to environmental sustainability, asserting that the RRTS would facilitate low-carbon, efficient railway travel, thereby saving millions of tons of CO2 emissions.

Mr. Jeong echoed these sentiments, underlining ADB's role in constructing a corridor that aligns with climate change mitigation efforts. The 82-km corridor, weaving through densely populated areas of the national capital region, promises to deliver fast, safe, and high-capacity commuter transit services. This, in turn, is poised to catalyze economic and employment opportunities by significantly reducing travel time from 3-4 hours to approximately 1 hour.

Namo Bharat Trains: A Glimpse into the Future

As the project advances, a noteworthy development is the completion of the 25km section from Ghaziabad's Duhai to Meerut (South). National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) officials anticipate trial runs for the Namo Bharat trains to commence along the entire stretch in January 2024. This marks a crucial milestone in the RRTS timeline.

Puneet Vats, Chief Public Relations Officer of NCRTC, shared insights, stating that track laying on the 25km section is finalized. The installation of signals and overhead equipment is nearing completion, setting the stage for extended trial runs in the coming month. The RRTS, encompassing Delhi, Ghaziabad, and Meerut, will see the Namo Bharat trains in action, ushering in a new era of efficient and sustainable mass transit.

Projected Timeline and Future Phases

The 82km RRTS corridor, with a total estimated cost of ₹30,274 crore, is set to undergo trial runs for the Namo Bharat trains on the entire stretch in January 2024. The 25km section is expected to be fully operational by the end of March, facilitating passenger operations at all eight stations in Ghaziabad district. Following this, the project's focus will shift to opening the RRTS stretch in Delhi, with subsequent attention on the Meerut (South) to Modipuram section.

Anticipated to become fully operational by June 2025, the Delhi-Meerut RRTS Corridor stands as a testament to collaborative efforts fostering sustainable urban development and connectivity.

Conclusion

The collaboration between the Government of India and ADB, marked by the 37 billion Japanese Yen loan, signifies a pivotal step in realizing the Delhi-Meerut RRTS Corridor. Beyond mere infrastructure development, this venture holds the promise of revolutionizing urban mobility, fostering economic growth, and contributing significantly to environmental conservation. As the Namo Bharat trains prepare for trial runs, the future of Delhi-NCR's commuter landscape looks poised for a positive and transformative change.





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