NAGPUR: The much-needed but much-delayed Nagpur Metro Rail will become a reality shortly. “The first Metro train will roll out in November 2017,” chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told TOI.

The announcement, made exclusively to TOI, will bring cheer to Nagpurians, who have been sceptical of big-ticket projects linked to the Metro Rail, like Mihan (Multi-modal International Cargo Hub Airport) and the high-FSI TOD (Transit Oriented Development).

The Rs 8,680-crore Metro project is not only expected to help boost the economy of the region but also address the nearly 30% rise in vehicular population in the last five years.

One can already see construction in progress on Wardha Road and near the railway station. Soon, work will start on Hingna Road and later on Central Avenue and Kamptee Road.

Although many Nagpurians use their personal vehicles to commute to their workplace or to educational institutions, the Metro is likely to augment transport infrastructure and benefit the growth of Mihan and TOD.

The Metro was conceptualised in view of the huge numbers of people who would be employed in various industries in Mihan. Some companies have already set up shop in the industrial zone, but employ a few people as of now. Patanjali Ayurveda has been allotted 289 acres in Mihan and the company promises to provide a lot of jobs. With the economy showing signs of revival, it shouldn’t be long before more companies begin to invest on a bigger scale.

TOD is a novel concept in India. It means that people will live and work along Metro corridors. The government has decided to increase the floor space index (FSI) up to 500 metres along the corridors. Higher FSI means that more construction can be done on the same land, which will lead to more people living and working in the Metro corridor areas. The real estate sector is undergoing a course correction and many builders are facing a cash crunch. But, as seen across the country, mega infrastructure projects, including mass transit systems, boost real estate development not only within the project area but across entire cities. With the government expected to provide higher FSI
for big plots, it does seem that the Metro announcement will benefit builders keen to make fresh investments.

Anil Nair, president of Confederation of Real Estate Developers of India (CREDAI), Nagpur unit, said it is too early to guess how much builders would benefit from the increased FSI along the Metro rail corridor. The by-laws on Metro corridor have not been released yet, so there cannot be any clarity.

With a dedicated Metro line linking the east-west and north-south areas of Nagpur, and Mihan and TOD throwing up vast employment opportunities, officials say they expect people to migrate to the city in large numbers in the years to come.

“The plots in the city along the Metro rail corridor are of small size, which will be a constraint for new development. However, as Metro goes further, there are big land patches on the outskirts like Wardha Road or the old Bhandara Road on the western and eastern sides respectively. These areas are underdeveloped at present,” said Tejindersingh Renu, executive member of CREDAI Nagpur.

Experts say that the integration of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s (NMC’s) city bus service with the Metro and its feeder bus service is essential. Not everybody will live along the Metro corridors. They must be able to reach Metro stations or feeder bus stops on buses.

A meeting was held between Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Limited (NMRCL) and NMC a few months ago to integrate the two modes of transport. An in-principle understanding was reached.

Renu pointed out, “Even today any corner of the city can be reached within 20-25 minutes. However, Metro rail will bring one more option to travel, though it may not become the main source of transportation initially.”

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