In a huge development, Chennai Metro Rail has reduced the cost of phase II project by nearly ₹11,000 crore, bringing it down to ₹69,000 crore. What is significant here is, the new cost estimate includes the newly-added extension up to Poonamallee all the way from Light House.
Highly placed sources told The Hindu, the detailed project report (DPR) was revised over the last several months and the cost was brought to about ₹69,000 crore from ₹80,000 crore. “The station size has been trimmed throughout the entire phase II project. There are also various other changes that were made including changing some of the underground stations into elevated ones,” a source said. This revised cost and revised DPR will soon be submitted to the government and the Centre for its approval.
Chennai Metro Rail’s phase II project planned to cut down on the extent of land acquired for construction and decided that a major part of the project will be underground (of 108 km, 88 km will be underground) — underground stations need less land. Now, some of the underground stations have been converted into elevated ones, as constructing underground stations is more cost intensive compared to elevated structures; building an underground station may cost ₹400-500 crore, while an elevated station will cost nearly half that amount.
Chennai Metro Rail wanted to acquire about 800 properties for this project and has already began sending notices to residents; now, with some new changes in place, it is not clear if more land needs to be acquired from residents, as elevated stations need more land than underground.
Two entry/exit points
Officials had earlier said when compared to the phase I project that required 90,000 square metres of land, phase I extension needed about 40,000 square metres and this will be further reduced to about 30,000 square metres now. The size of the stations will be reduced from 220 metres in phase I project to 150 metres in phase II. Also, unlike phase I that has four entry/exit points, stations in phase II project may have just two.
Chennai Metro Rail’s phase II project will cover 108 km with 116 stations on three stretches: Madhavaram to Siruseri, Light House to Meenakshi College and Madhavaram to Shollinganallur. Initially, of the 108 km, 50 km with 58 stations will be constructed. Soil tests have been conducted at various locations in the city.
In the revised DPR, the extension up to Poonamallee from Light House, which was proposed by the government recently, will be part of phase II project. Initially, the stretch from Light House, which was supposed to end at CMBT, was re-routed and now extended up to Poonamallee.