Forget commencement of actual work, delay in preparation of even the mandatory detailed project report for Srinagar metro train service is likely to hold the ambitious project up for up to a decade, an official said.
The project has been envisaged for reducing the projected traffic congestion in the summer capital and to provide cheap, faster and reliable transportation to commuters.
The Rs 15881 crore Srinagar Metro Project, allotted to RITES, was scheduled to commence from April 1, 2017. The agency was supposed to submit the complete draft detailed project report (DPR) by September 2017.
However, until now the DPR is not ready. Experts say the delay in setting execution of the project in motion will also result in cost escalation.
While comprehensive mobility plan and traffic surveys of both Srinagar and Jammu cities has already been completed, RITES has failed to furnish a proposal for remaining activities, delaying the process of crucial governmental approvals.
"Recently, a meeting with the representatives of RITES was held in Jammu. They presented draft of project. The draft needs some more additions and subtractions," an official said on condition of anonymity.
"The work on preparation of DPR seems to be going on at snail's pace. I think the project may get its foundation stone in next ten years, or maybe we have only phase-I completed in next fifteen years," the official said.
The proposed corridor-I for Srinagar is starts from HMT Junction and culminates at Pampore Bus Stand with Batmaloo, Lal Chowk, Badami Bagh and Pantha Chowk as important stations in between.
Corridor-II is proposed to start from Usmanabad to end at the Airport with Soura, Jama Masjid and Ram Bagh as important stations.
The third corridor in Srinagar city is proposed between Munshi Bagh and Batapora. A total of 16 halting stations are planned in corridor-I, 19 in corridor-II and 10 in corridor-III at an average distance of 1 Km.
Once completed, the metro train service in Srinagar and Jammu is expected to run for 17 hours every day, but during winter months it will run for 13 hours a day in Srinagar.
In Jammu, the proposed corridor-I in envisaged between Kheri and Exhibition Ground with Bantalab, High Court, Parade Ground and BC Road Bus Stand as important stops.
Corriodor-II for Jammu is proposed to start from Barnai and culminate at Bari-Brahmana Railway Station with Shakti Nagar, Canal Head Chownk, Trikuta Nagar, Gandhi Nagar and Kunjwani as important stations.
Japan is providing financial assistance for this major project under the Japan-India Special ODA Loan for Metro and Railway Projects in India.
The J&K government has appointed the Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) as nodal agency for implementation of this ambitious project.
Chief executive officer of ERA, Raghav Langer was unavailable for commenting on the delay despite repeated attempts to reach him.