Japan International Cooperation Agency's cumulative loans for metro projects in India exceeded Rs 59071 crores with the Official Development Assistance Loan (ODA) of 19,981 million Japanese Yen (approximately Rs 1180 crore) extended to the Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL), according to a JICA press release issued on Friday.
The assistance from JICA to the metro system in Chennai will facilitate construction of underground tunnels, rail-tracks, electrical, telecommunication and signalling systems, procurement of the trains and consultancy service.
The agreement for this tranche of loanwas signed between Takema Sakamoto, Chief Representative, JICA India Office and S. Selvakumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.
The project will provide the Metro Rail System network of 45 km from Washermenpet to Chennai Airport (Corridor 1) and Chennai Central to St Thomas Mount (Corridor 2). The project would include the construction of nineteen underground and thirteen elevated stations of corridor 1 and 2. It will cover the centre business district area and residential and cum institutional complex area of Chennai Metropolitan Area.
The metro line from Koyambedu to Alandur of Corridor 2 (10km), covering seven elevated stations, started commercial operations in June 2015. In 2016, the other stretches will be commissioned, and Chennai Airport will be connected by metro.
The completion of the metro will mitigate the impacts caused by mounting traffic in Chennai such as increased traffic congestion, air pollution, road accidents and journey time. Development of metro in Chennai will provide safe, timely and comfortable travel with high reliability of services to the citizens, as a typical example of high quality infrastructure.
The Executing agency for the project is Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL).
Speaking on the occasion, Takema Sakamoto said, "JICA has been promoting development of economic infrastructure which facilitates sustained growth. Chennai metro will mitigate traffic congestion and enhance ease of travel; and reducing traffic congestion and air pollution raises local economic output and improve quality of life significantly. Opening of the first metro line by Chennai Metro Rail Limited is a giant stride towards fulfilling Chennai Metro's mission of providing safe, fast, reliable, accessible, convenient, comfortable, efficient, affordable and sustainable public transport service that is preferred by all."
Once completed, the Chennai metro project is expected to have over 260 trains running in either direction each day, transporting an estimated 60 lakh people each day. The Chennai Metro is integrated with other forms of public and private transport including buses and sub-urban trains to facilitate seamless travel by commuters.
Advanced technology and systems will reduce the total life cycle cost (LCC) including operation and maintenance stage. In addition, the cooperation in urban rail sector with advanced technology enhances the development of human resources in India.
The metro provides safe and reliable service for female and vulnerable passengers such as the seniors and persons with disabled, by installing CCTV, intercoms for emergency communication, courtesy seats, women-only passenger car, space for wheelchairs in cars, textured paving blocks and lifts in platforms.
JICA has extended 130,293 million Japanese Yen (approximately Rs 7697 crore) in concessional ODA loans over three tranches since 2008 for development of a 45 km metro rail system in Chennai. By adding this loan, the cumulative loan amount for Chennai Metro Project becomes JPY 150,274 million (approximately Rs 8877 crore).
The ODA loan's conditions are very concessional at 1.4% of interest rate and 30 years of repayment period (including 10 years of grace period). India is JICA’s largest partner in the world. JICA has extended similar loans for metro proects in Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai and Ahmedabad .