ADB, Central govt ink $500 mn loan for Delhi-Meerut RRTS corridor

The first tranche loan will support construction of the first of three priority rail corridors

Asian Development Bank, 82-kilometre Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System, Sameer Kumar Khare, Department of Economic Affairs, Kenichi Yokoyama, Priority rail corridors, NCR Regional Plan 2021, Connect Delhi to other cities, NCR, Transit-oriented development, Sarai Kale Khan in Delhi, Modipuram in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, Electrified tracks, Signalling systems, Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, Manila-headquartered funding agency, Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund

The government has signed a $500-million loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank for funding the 82-kilometre Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) corridor.

"The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of India signed a $500 million loan, the first tranche of a total $1 billion facility, to build a modern, high-speed 82-kilometre Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) corridor that will improve regional connectivity and mobility in India's national capital region (NCR)," ADB said.

The signatories to the loan agreement for the Delhi-Meerut RRTS Investment Project were Sameer Kumar Khare, additional secretary (Fund Bank and ADB) of Department of Economic Affairs, and Kenichi Yokoyama, country director of ADB's India Resident Mission.

The first tranche loan will support construction of the first of three priority rail corridors planned under the NCR Regional Plan 2021 to connect Delhi to other cities in adjoining states.

"The project will provide better connectivity to allow other towns in the NCR to develop as urban economic centres surrounded by residential areas while easing the concentration pressure on Delhi," said Khare after signing the agreement.

Development of this corridor will have a huge demonstration effect and pave the way for a paradigm shift in mobility and the pattern of urban development within the region, Khare said.

"The project is expected to have a transformational impact on the development trajectory of the national capital region by introducing high-level technologies for RRTS, signaling, and station designs," Yokoyama said.

"Besides, the project will also support transit-oriented development (TOD) with systematic urban and land use planning around the RRTS corridor while promoting value capture financing (VCF) to generate additional municipal revenues," he added.

With a design speed of 180 km per hour and high-frequency operations of every 5-10 minutes, the 82-km corridor connecting Sarai Kale Khan in Delhi to Modipuram in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh is expected to reduce the journey time to about 1 hour from the present 3-4 hours. The RRTS will have multimodal hubs to ensure smooth interchange with other transport modes.

The first-tranche financing will be used for constructing electrified tracks, signalling systems, multimodal hubs and stations with design features that are friendly to elderly, women, children and the disabled, ADB said.

A USD 3-million grant from ADB's Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction will support various activities, including provision of visual, hearing and mobility aids, such as wheelchairs for differently abled persons, it said further.

The Manila-headquartered funding agency said training for women and differently abled persons on safe mobility and employment opportunities and behavioral change for public transport providers will also be given.

Besides, the ADB-administered multi-donor Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund will provide USD 2.89 million to support innovations in building information modeling, universal access design features and transit-oriented development.

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