Thursday, November 20, 2008

Asian Development Bank to give loan to PCMC for BRTS service

The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) will take a loan of around Rs 350 crore from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to start a Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) service on six routes within its municipal limits. The loan will help meet 25 per cent of the project cost, the civic body said.

Municipal commissioner Ashish Sharma said the PCMC has received a letter from the ADB expressing its willingness to provide the loan for the BRTS project.

The PCMC plans to start the BRTS service on six routes in the township at a total cost of around Rs 1,300 crore. The ADB will extend a loan to cover 25 per cent of the project cost, which comes up to Rs 350 - 400 crore.

Explaining the reason for taking the loan, the civic chief said, “Normally, bank loans have to be repaid in seven to eight years. But the ADB’s loans can be repaid in 15 years. Further, the PCMC has an AA+ credit rating, which means that we can get bank loans easily.”

The municipal commissioner explained that the PCMC will seek 60 per cent of the project cost from the union government under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission scheme. The civic body will bear the remaining 15 per cent of the expenditure, Sharma stated.

Sharma said the PCMC will appoint Urban Mass Transit Company Limited to prepare the operational plan for its BRTS project, as had also been done by the PMC.

The first BRTS service began in the PCMC area on an experimental basis on Monday on the Nigdi-PMC headquarters bus terminus route. The Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha have opposed the BRTS service in the PCMC limits, saying it would lead to accidents on the old Pune-Mumbai highway. The BJYM has also threatened that its activists would not allow Sharma to enter Pimpri-Chinchwad from the day a person is killed in a mishap involving the BRTS service.

We have taken enough precautions and followed the technical experts’ recommendations ensure that the BRTS buses run on the lanes between the concretised portion of the old Pune-Mumbai highway and the service road.”

He also reiterated that 42 bus shelters and 15 toilets will be constructed along the old Pune-Mumbai highway on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis. Tenders have already been invited for these, he added.

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