NP Ramakrishna Reddy, a 1974 batch marine engineer from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, served as a marine engineer for the Shipping Corporation of India. He later joined the department of ports in Andhra Pradesh as executive engineer in 1981. Since then, he held various posts and was instrumental in construction of the deepwater port at Kakinada as its chief engineer. Later, he was promoted as additional secretary to the state government and made in-charge of the key public-private partnership (PPP) projects like Kakinada and Krishnapatnam ports and Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad. He was promoted as special chief secretary, department of animal husbandry, before he retired in 2010. He is now the managing director of the Amaravati Metro Rail Corporation Limited (AMRC). He speaks to V Kamalakara Rao of TOI on the progress of Vizag Metro Rail (VMR) project.
What is the update on Vizag Metro Rail project?
The proposal has been sent to the Union government for approval. The file is still with the government. Once the proposal is finalised, we will take up subsequent works including calling for tenders. If everything goes according to plan, construction will begin by end of this year. VMR will be operational in next three years and a half.
Is the project not getting delayed?
It is not a normal project. It is a sensitive project, which needs clearance of nearly 10 departments. This apart, funding of the project will also be an important task. However, we are successfully handling each key point in the project by taking utmost care. We finally decided to take it up under PPP mode.
Why under PPP mode?
The metro rail project will be sustainable if it is taken up under PPP mode. The project will also become affordable for the general public. The government cannot take up two metro projects simultaneously. So the Vizag project will be under PPP mode.
What is the financial contribution of AP and the central governments?
AP will contribute 20 per cent of the Rs 13,488 crore in the form of land, which is nearly 75 acres. Another 20 per cent of the cost will come from the Centre. The developer will bear remaining 60% cost.
What about the DPRs and studies done earlier?
The information and data will be utilised. However, traffic survey will be taken up afresh as the earlier one was conducted about 18 months ago.
How will metro rail reduce traffic congestion?
We are planning train services every eight minutes. We estimated that 98 coaches are required for the VMR project.
Do you think that VMR is viable in Vizag?
Why not. The project may not be able to quick response from the public. It will gain popularity as it will be the cheapest mode of transport. – TOI
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