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Metro rail better solution to decongestion

By K. Ramachandran

CHENNAI, APRIL 10. A metro rail corridor along the EVR Periyar (Poonamallee) High Road, which is being favourably considered by the Government, will meet a long-pending demand to decongest two highly saturated highways.

It will be the first attempt in several decades to create an alignment alternative to the High Road (which ultimately becomes the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway No. 4). The rail corridor will connect Anna Nagar with the heart of the central business district.

A study to finalise the alignment, its possible outcomes in terms of the number of beneficiaries, the cost and other details will be taken up soon by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which has prepared a feasibility report. The DMRC will also be the implementing agency.

For more than three decades, planners and urban experts have been demanding a sustainable project to decongest the two highly crowded corridors. The exploding vehicle population in the city has only reiterated the demand.

Enquiries with officials show that the State Government debated the issue with multilateral lending agencies to fund the project, expected to cost about Rs.5,500 crores, as per a DMRC report. One section of planners argued that if decongestion of the main corridors and the central business district of the metropolis was the objective, an elevated rail corridor along the Inner Ring Road could serve the purpose. But lending agencies preferred an elevated road along the EVR Periyar High Road. But officials feel the lending agencies may impose unpopular conditionalities. However, the Government is veering round to the view that a mass rail transporting system is better suited for Chennai. Instead of going for a foreign loan, a special purpose vehicle can be floated to raise funds from the market.

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