The European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU Bank, are set to invest EUR650 million into the construction of Kanpur's first city metro line, which will enable around 3 million people in the city to benefit from fast and affordable public transport.
According to an official release, the new metro rail system will reduce commuting hours and unlock new employment and education opportunities in Kanpur, the industrial capital of Uttar Pradesh.
Andrew McDowell, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank said, "Kanpur is the fifth metro rail project to receive EIB funds in India and the biggest investment made by the Bank outside the EU. The metro will have a positive impact on the quality of life and doing business in the city through access to the affordable transport, creating new employment and education opportunities."
"It will be a safe, green and affordable transport alternative for Kanpur and its visitors. We are also glad to see this project is contributing to global climate action while strengthening EU-India relations," Mr McDowell added.
This is the second metro rail project supported by the EIB in Uttar Pradesh, following the EUR450 million investment in the development of a metro rail system in the city of Lucknow.
The second biggest EIB operation outside the EU to date will finance the construction of a 32.4 km urban rail line, with 18 elevated and 12 underground stations. Once completed, Kanpur metro rail will create 1 100 new jobs and enable around 116 million more affordable commutes each year, according to the release.
Kumar Keshav, Managing Director of Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation said, "UPMRC is extremely thankful to European Investment Bank for their continued support for the development of metro rail projects in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Comfortable, fast, safe, energy-efficient and affordable public transport systems like metros are needed for cities to become the engines of growth in our country."
This is the fifth EIB investment in green infrastructure and connectivity in India and the second in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The EU bank has invested in metro rail systems in Bhopal, Pune, Bangalore and Lucknow. With the Kanpur investment, the total amount of the EIB's approved support for metro rail systems in India has reached EUR2.65 billion, more than half of the entire EIB investment portfolio in India.
The new metro will reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality across the city. With easier access to the local job market, healthcare and education for residents, Kanpur metro rail will have a positive impact on quality of life and doing business, and increase safety for female travellers.
H.E. Ugo Astuto, the EU Ambassador to India, said that at the last summit on 15 July, the EU and India discussed how to put climate action and the green transition at the heart of our economic recovery post COVID.
The EIB investment will accelerate the social and economic recovery of the city in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and support the long-term re-emergence of the local economy. The investment also bolsters the Government of India and its Urban Development "Smart Cities Mission", as Kanpur is one of the first 100 targeted Smart Cities in the country.
The Kanpur metro rail project will help India achieve a number of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely SDG 13 (climate action), SDG 11 (sustainable cities) and SDG 5 (gender equality), according to the release.