Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday flagged off tunnel boring machines named ‘Ganga’ and ‘Yamuna’ for three underground stations of the ‘priority corridor’ being constructed for the Agra Metro project.
Starting from Ramlila Maidan in Agra, one end of this tunnel will open at Jama Masjid while the other end is at Taj Mahal West Gate.
Speaking to India Today, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the Agra Metro Rail project meets all environmental standards. Excavation of the tunnel is starting today and every effort will be made to complete this 6 km long priority corridor by December 2023.
“All safety standards will be taken care of during the excavation of the tunnel and soon Agra will also stand in the line of cities having metro facilities along with Lucknow, Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, and Kanpur,” said the UP CM.
Flagging off the tunneling of the metro project, the chief minister also inspected the development works related to the G20 Summit to be held in Agra and expressed satisfaction with the quality of the work.
Sources associated with UPMRC said that this tunnel boring machine will make a tunnel of six and a half meters in diameter, from which about 55 tonnes of soil will come out per meter. After installing the precast ring segment inside the tunnel, the diameter of the tunnel will be about five and a half meters. About 10 meters of tunneling will be done daily from Monday to Friday while machinery repair work will be done on Saturday and Sunday.
Talking about the low probability of the Agra Metro Rail project turning profitable, Agra Tourist Welfare Chamber secretary Vishal Sharma said that the Agra Metro project is an ambitious one, with a projected cost of Rs. 8,379 crore. Despite the benefits of providing efficient public transportation services to citizens, such large-scale projects in small cities can be difficult to become profitable.
He said that given the size and complexity of this project, the construction of this project is likely to be considerable. Additionally, there is no guarantee that revenues generated from ticket sales and other sources will offset the cost of this project, as has been experienced in other cities of India like Lucknow and Jaipur.
Sharma said that instead of spending thousands of crores on the metro project which could very well prove to be a white elephant in the long run, it was important to consider alternative options for public transportation in Agra. For example, investing in existing public transportation services such as buses and elevated roads could have provided more immediate benefits at a lower cost. Additionally, investing in the infrastructure of existing roads could have provided faster travel times and better safety for citizens.