Parliamentary Panel Flags The Need For A Single And Comprehensive Metro Act
The committee has flagged the need for a single and comprehensive legislation for all the metro rail networks in the country as opposed to the existing three central metro acts.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Housing and Urban Affairs in its thirteenth report on the subject 'Implementation of Metro Rail Projects - An Appraisal’ has flagged the need for a single and comprehensive legislation for all the metro rail networks in the country as opposed to the existing three central acts.
Metro Rail Act
According to the report, the Metro Rail Projects in the country are governed by the three Metro Acts, namely, the Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act, 1978, the Metro Railways (Operation and Maintenance) Act, 2002 and the Calcutta Metro Railways (Operation and Maintenance) Temporary Provisions Act, 1985.
The Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act, 1978, provide for the construction of works relating to metro railways in metropolitan cities. The Act was initially applicable to the metropolitan city of Calcutta; however, the central government, by notification, can extend it to any metropolitan city or area.
On the other hand, the Metro Railway (Operations and Maintenance) Act, 2002 governs the operation of metro rail system. This Act is applicable to the National Capital Region and the central government may, by notification, after consultation with the state government, extend this Act to such other metropolitan areas and cities, except the metropolitan city of Calcutta.
The central government has extended the relevant provisions of the Metro Railways (Operation and Maintenance) Act, 2002, to a total of 23 cities. These include Vijayawada, Vishakhapatnam, Patna, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Surat, Bangalore, Kochi, Indore, Bhopal, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Navi Mumbai, Jaipur, Chennai, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Agra, Meerut and Gorakhpur.
Need to have a single and comprehensive Metro Act
The report states that both the acts, viz. the Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act, 1978 and the Metro Railway (Operations and Maintenance) Act, 2002 seem to have the same objective, i.e. construction of works, maintenance relating to metro railways in metropolitan areas in the country and operations.
The committee was informed that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) was in the process of drafting the Metro Rail (Construction, Operation, Maintenance and Administration) Bill, 2021, which upon enactment, would replace the three existing Metro Acts.
According to a reply by the MoHUA, the country had only five operational metro networks in the year 2014. As of today, the operational network of metro has extended to 18 cities and construction is underway in 27 cities. The massive increase in the network capacity coupled with technical challenges has necessitated the need for a robust act.
Including PPP framework
The existing Central Metro Act does not facilitate Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode for metro Work. However, the Mumbai Metro Line-1 project between Ghatkopar and Varsova was built on PPP model by Anil Ambani controlled Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
Similarly, Hyderabad Metro Rail project is being executed in PPP mode by the Concessionaire M/s. L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad Ltd., a special purpose company of the Indian infrastructure and manufacturing giant L&T.
The emergence of PPP mode has created issues related with viability gap funding (VGF). To deal with such issues, the new Metro Act will include PPP mode for bidding.
Also Read: Chennai Metro Rail Plans To Build Skywalks Near Phase-2 Metro Stations
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