A FORMAL go-ahead for construction of the long-planned metro network in the Indian capital is due to be announced this month, following the creation of the Delhi Metro Rail Corp to manage the project. Headed by E Sreedharan, former General Manager of the Konkan Railway Corp, DMRC is a joint venture of the central and state governments.

The 55 km priority network includes 11 km of tunnelled route, including machine-bored tunnels under the market area at Chandni Chowk. There will also be 22 km of elevated route and 22 km of surface running. Peak traffic projections are as high as 1·2 million passengers/h in a city which has 11 million inhabitants. In the longer term, the network is expected to reach 198 km by 2021.

Contracts for civil works on the first stage were due to be awarded last month. DMRC expects the 8 km section across the Yamuna river between Shadahra and Tis-Hazari Court to be commissioned in 2002, and the 11 km route from Delhi University to the Central Secretariat is to be completed by 2007.

Japan’s Overseas Economic Co-operation Fund has pledged to provide US$400m towards the metro, which will meet 56% of the cost. Another 15% will come from the Indian government and a similar amount from the city. The rest will be met from loans and property development revenues.

A consortium of Rail India Technical & Economic Services, Tonichi, Jarts and Pacific Consortium of Japan, and Parsons Brinckerhoff of the USA is undertaking detailed design studies costed at Rs48·6bn. Rites had earlier prepared plans for a 184·5 km integrated multi-modal mass rapid transit system (DM91 p32) which was approved by the government in July 1994. o