Ahmedabad now plans a rail
The Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) is not enough to fulfil the mobility plans of mega-city Ahmedabad. A dormant plan for a Regional Rail System (RRS) is now being revived to provide additional transportation infrastructure for the city which is growing by leaps and bounds. The RRS plan was shelved after Delhi Rail Metro Corporation Ltd prepared a feasibility report for Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board (GIDB) in August 2005.The Gujarat state government has written to Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) Ltd and Indian Railways to modify the 2005 plan to suit the changing face of Ahmedabad, especially on the western side. The idea is to have a rail project for Ahmedabad which would supplement the BRTS. The 2005 report had proposed three tracks, all starting at Ahmedabad railway station. The first track was from Kankariya to Barajedi, the second from Saraspur to Kalol and the third from Saraspur to Naroda.That plan is now being revised as the city is set to expand to new western areas where big projects like a new international airport, Dholera port Gujarat International Finance Tech-city (GIFT) etc are coming up, which will require transport infrastructure. The Ahmedabad-Botad meter-gauge rail line running alongside Ashram Road is being converted into broad-gauge and could be integrated into the new plans. The cost of the RRS project could be quite prohibitive though. While the 2005 proposal put the expenditure at Rs 1,200 crore, this could go much higher, looking at cost escalation and the fact that the plan will have to be extended to the western fringes. In comparison, the entire BRTS project is valued at Rs 1,000 crore.