Riding on Debt

Read In Hindi | हिंदी में पढ़ें

In India at present, metro projects with a total length of 370 km are operational in 9 cities. 26 other cities have already planned or proposed metro rail projects with a total length of 1132 km. The per km cost of the metro project is likely to vary from 200 to 300 crore rupees. What this means is that the country is going to witness 2.8 lakh crore rupees (nearly 2% of India’s current GDP and more than the average annual budgetary allocation to the infrastructure sector) pumped into the vanity projects across the metropolitan areas.

Is it the myth that the metro will solve the transport problems of Indian cities, or is it just because the metro looks glamorous? But then, why does the metro have a glamorous appeal? Are the other transit options inherently not as good as the metro? Or, is it just a perception reinforced by dominant ideologies?

Over the years, Delhi Metro has become a role model for many things. To urban dwellers, it promises a “modern and “hightech public transport system. To governments, it is an easy means to earn “development credits” along with “public
welfare”. To the private sector, it has clearly a lot to offer since a lot of money is at stake. This also gets rewarding media coverage because of strong public relations (PR) management and it is also honoured by various national and international agencies for its “achievements”. But how did this happen? More importantly, what is actually going on?


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