Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her predecessor Ashok Gehlot Monday locked horns over the much-touted Jaipur Metro rail project. A month before the first leg of the 12 km metro corridor is slated to be thrown open to the public, Raje called it a “financially unwise decision” and grudged running it. The CM, while presenting her Budget, said that she agreed to completing Phase 1 B only because leaving it unfinished would only lead to further operational losses.
“The previous government made an allocation of more than Rs 3,000 crore for a stretch of only 12 km of metro rail. In terms of finances, bringing in a Metro rail project here cannot be called a good decision. I reiterate, in this Rs 3,400 crore allocated for the metro, we could have made 110 road over bridges and 5,000 km of roads across the state. In addition to run the metro, the state will incur losses of at least Rs 60-80 crore per year,” she told the House. “Experts feel that the project was implemented in haste. Not just the project but even the trains were bought in unnecessary haste. The stretch from Chandpole to Badi Chaupar will start in 2018 but for this phase the previous government ordered two metro trains worth Rs 100 crore in 2012. So for the next three years these trains will gather dust.”
Rooting for his pet project, Gehlot argued Raje’s disapproval of the Jaipur metro rail goes against the posture of the NDA government at the Centre that promised to introduce bullet trains and metro rail in Lucknow and Ahmedabad.