INDIA: Work was due to start last month on the first phase of the Chennai metro, following the confirmation of an initial loan of Rs49·9bn by the Japanese government on October 22.

JBIC has agreed to lend Rs8bn towards the Rs111bn cost of Phase 1, comprising two lines totalling 44 km with 36 stations. Last December the Tamil Nadu government created a special purpose vehicle, Chennai Metro Rail Ltd, to implement the standard-gauge network, which will be built on an Engineering, Procurement & Construction basis. Phase 1 is scheduled for completion in 2014.

Line 1 will be 23·1 km long, with 18 stations from Washermanpet to Chennai Airport. There will be 10 stations on the 14·3 km underground section between Washermanpet and Saidapet, while the remaining stretch is elevated. The 21·9 km second line also has 18 stations, running underground from Chennai Central to Koyambedu and there-after on an elevated alignment to St Thomas Mount.