The Union government has signed a $500-million loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank for funding the 82-kilometre Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) corridor.
“The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of India signed a $500 million loan, the first tranche of a total $1 billion facility, to build a modern, high-speed 82-kilometre Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) corridor that will improve regional connectivity and mobility in India’s national capital region (NCR),” ADB said.
The Delhi-Meerut RRTS corridor comprises of 22 railway stations (including 6 stations of Meerut Metro Rail Project) will connect Delhi to Meerut through a rapid rail network. The estimated 82 km long network will pass through one of the most densely populated sections of the NCR connecting Delhi to Uttar Pradesh.
RRTS will be designed to operate at a speed of 180 kmph and use state of the art technologies for track structure, rolling stock and signalling system. With a design speed of 180 km per hour and high-frequency operations of every 5-10 minutes, the 82-km RRTS connecting Sarai Kale Khan in Delhi to Modipuram in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh is expected to reduce the journey time to about 1 hour from the present 3-4 hours. The RRTS will have multimodal hubs to ensure smooth interchange with other transport modes.
National Capital Region Transport Corporation Limited (NCRTC), a joint venture undertaking of Govt of India and States of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and under the administrative control of Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, has been entrusted with the mandate to design, construct, operate and maintain rail based RRTS project across the National Capital region (NCR) of India. Three RRTS corridors: Delhi-Meerut, Delhi-Panipat Smart Line and Delhi -Alwar have been identified and prioritised for implementation in first phase.
The first tranche loan will support construction of the first of three priority rail corridors planned under the NCR Regional Plan 2021 to connect Delhi to other cities in adjoining states.
“The project will provide better connectivity to allow other towns in the NCR to develop as urban economic centres surrounded by residential areas while easing the concentration pressure on Delhi,” said Sameer Kumar Khare, additional secretary (Fund Bank and ADB) of Department of Economic Affairs after signing the agreement.
Development of this corridor will have a huge demonstration effect and pave the way for a paradigm shift in mobility and the pattern of urban development within the region, Kharea dded.
“The project is expected to have a transformational impact on the development trajectory of the national capital region by introducing high-level technologies for RRTS, signaling, and station designs,” Kenichi Yokoyama, country director of ADB’s India Resident Mission. said.
“Besides, the project will also support transit-oriented development (TOD) with systematic urban and land use planning around the RRTS corridor while promoting value capture financing (VCF) to generate additional municipal revenues,” he added.
The first-tranche financing will be used for constructing electrified tracks, signalling systems, multimodal hubs and stations with design features that are friendly to elderly, women, children and the disabled, ADB said in a statement.
A USD 3-million grant from ADB’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction will support various activities, including provision of visual, hearing and mobility aids, such as wheelchairs for differently abled persons, it said further.
Besides, the ADB-administered multi-donor Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund will provide USD 2.89 million to support innovations in building information modeling, universal access design features and transit-oriented development.
The first phase of the ambitious Rail Rapid Transit System (RRTS) is expected to be operational in three years with the 17-km stretch connecting Duhai-Shahibabad section in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad to open for public by early 2023.
The Duhai-Shahibabad stretch is undergoing civil construction works under priority. The section comprises four stations at Duhai, Guldhar, Ghaziabad and Shahibabad.
The nodal agency of the RRTS- National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) said that the 82-km Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor will be operational by 2025.