With new Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav prioritising the mono rail and metro rail projects for major cities in Uttar Pradesh, officials are working overtime to prepare a feasibility report on the projects. Officials say the report would be with the chief minister's office in three weeks.
Orders have been issued to check the 'soil concentration' - a major benchmark for the rail project - in Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra and Varanasi, for which the rail projects are being conceived.
"Work has been initiated soon after last week's meeting with the chief minister and officials of the Agra Development Authority, Kanpur Development Authority, Lucknow and Varanasi Development Authority are doing the spade work," a senior official from the Chief Minister's Secretariat told IANS.
Officials in the urban development department are exploring two options - direct funding by the state and union governments (as in the case of the Delhi Metro Rail project) or a public-private partnership (PPP) model (as in the case of Mumbai) - while preparing the feasibility report.
A separate team from the housing department is working on the proposed routes that should be considered for the rail projects, keeping in mind the traffic bottlenecks and an "objective assessment of the ground realities".
With regard to the Metro rail project for Lucknow along a 36-km stretch, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had already submitted a Detailed Project Report (DPR) a year back when the Mayawati government was in power.
The Metro rail project for Lucknow was initially pegged at Rs 12,672 crore but the inflated cost, worked out by officials, puts it at Rs 16,000 crore now.
In the DPR, the city was divided into three phases for the Metro rail link - North-South Corridor, East-West Corridor and the Gomtinagar link. The biggest among these three phases was the North-South Corridor which was to cost somewhere around Rs 5,421 crore.
The ambitious project had caught the fascination of Mayawati two years back but could not see the light of day as it got stuck on "funding and the financial modalities".
This city has around 4.8 million people, and around 22 percent of the population is dependent on public transport, which is dominated by buses and auto-rickshaws, according to Lucknow Development Authority officials.
Akhilesh Yadav last week ordered his officials also to work on the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) in Kanpur, Lucknow, Agra and Varanasi while also seeking "forward movement" on the second phase of the Metro rail in Ghaziabad, neighbouring New Delhi.
Phase II of the ambitious project would connect the Vaishali-Indirapuram-Sector 62 crossing of Noida-CISF-Mehrauli.
With the posting of Santosh Yadav, a senior administrative official considered close to the ruling Samajwadi Party, as the new vice-chairman of Ghaziabad Development Authority, the project is likely to get "big time priority", said an official.