“Trial runs on Phase 1B have been completed and approval from the chief commissioner of Rail Safety (CCRS) is likely to be received shortly,” Jaipur Metro Rail managing director, Mr Mukesh Kumar Singhal, told IRJ. “The line will become operational by March.”

When open, the line will provide a link to historic sites such as Jantar Mantar and the City Palace.

While the 9.63km Mansarovar - Chandpole Phase 1A section of Line 1, built at a cost of Rs 27bn ($US 377.6m), has been open since 2015, the 2.4km Phase 1B extension suffered cost and time overruns because of opposition from conservationists and shopkeepers residing in the crowded areas of Choti Choupar and Bari Chopuar.

The line has been completed at a cost of Rs 11bn. Civil works were undertaken by the Taiwanese Continental Engineering Corporation, while Alstom provided the tracks and signalling systems. Public sector undertaking Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) supplied 10 trains.

Line 1 currently operates 170 trains a day using a fleet of four-car trains. Ridership of 25,000 passengers/day is far below the target ridership figure of 100,000. “But, after the linkage to Old Jaipur is provided for, the ridership figures will spiral exponentially,” Singhal predicted.

Meanwhile, Phase 2 remains stuck in procedural issues, as an updated feasibility study has been launched, with a new detailed project report (DPR) from Egis Rail expected sometime this year.

According to the original DPR, a 24km line was proposed from Sitapura to Ambawadi at an estimated cost of Rs 1 trillion. Singhal says the cost is likely to be scaled back in accordance with the state government’s new focus on cost-cutting.

At a meeting in New Delhi last week, officials from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), who are acting as project consultants, are understood to have told Jaipur metro officials that options such as trolleybuses and rubber-tyred metro cars could be considered for Phase 2.

While Phase 1 will meet its 2020 commissioning targets, Phase 2 is nowhere near meeting its completion timeline of 2021. The delay has largely been caused by the previous state government, headed by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), deciding to undertake the task under a public-private partnership (PPP), instead of the usual method of building metro lines on a 50:50 cost sharing basis between the central and state governments.

Following a change of government in November last year, the state is likely to revert to the 50:50 cost sharing model, an official said, and seek central government funding for Phase 2.

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