Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Vizag Metro Rail, SCoR projects encounter growing challenges

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Two major infrastructure undertakings in Visakhapatnam, namely the Visakhapatnam Metro Rail and the South Coast Railway (SCoR), are grappling with significant impediments, raising apprehensions about escalating costs, political discord, and unmet commitments. Despite an initial surge in progress during the tenure of the TDP government, the Visakhapatnam Metro Rail project has now come to a standstill. The transition in governance, initiation of new tenders, and a revised Detailed Project Report (DPR) have contributed to an alarming escalation in the project cost, now reaching a staggering Rs 14,300 crore. With impending elections and lingering land acquisition challenges, further delays appear unavoidable.
Despite the pledged $1.4 billion loan from the Export-Import Bank of Korea and additional investments from a Korean firm, the revised DPR awaits approval and funding from the Central government. The YSRCP government is advocating for viability gap funding, introducing an additional layer of complexity to the project. While Union Minister Nitin Gadkari approved a six-lane expressway linking Visakhapatnam to Bhogapuram, progress is contingent upon the State’s efforts in land acquisition. BJP MP GVL Narasimha Rao has criticized the State’s perceived inaction, emphasizing the Center’s allocation of Rs 6,300 crore amid the project’s stagnation.
The establishment of the SCoR, headquartered in Visakhapatnam, encounters its own set of challenges. Despite the Centre’s claim of allocating Rs 106.89 crore for infrastructure, disputes with the State government and the absence of a designated construction site have impeded progress. Even the planned foundation stone laying ceremony by Prime Minister Modi was scrapped last year. Amidst the blame game, citizens and stakeholders find themselves frustrated and anxious. JV Satyanarayana Murthy, convener of the Railway Zone Sadhana Samiti, urges immediate action, proposing the operationalization of the zone through the existing Divisional Railway Manager’s office.
Both projects serve as poignant reminders of unfulfilled potential. Bureaucratic hurdles, mounting costs, and political discord have cast shadows over their advancement, leaving Visakhapatnam’s infrastructure aspirations in a state of uncertainty. The resolution of these challenges and the successful completion of these vital projects hinge on the prompt and effective actions that authorities take in the days to come.

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