Pune: After a long wait, the Pune Metro project today received the Centre's nod, paving the way for over Rs 11,000-crore work for overhead rails to ease the worsening traffic congestion in the city.
"The Centre has accepted my report on the (Metro) project and cleared it for early resumption of work," Girish Bapat, a Maharashtra Minister, told PTI here after his meeting with Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Venkaiah Naidu and Prakash Javadekar in Delhi.
Bapat, who holds portfolio of Food & Drug Administration, is also the Guardian Minister of Pune district.
Mired in controversies that led to its delay, the Pune Metro project's feasibility had raised doubts because of the cost entailed by previous proposals advocating underground rails. Now a major portion of the Metro will be overhead to cut cost of the project conceived six years back.
"The cost factor should make the fare of the Metro journey affordable for commuters," Bapat said. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as well as Union Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari -- both hailing from Nagpur -- had attracted criticism from the Opposition and other quarters for their alleged "favouritism" in piloting and getting sanctioned the Nagpur Metro project before that of Pune's.
According to an NCP release issued today, the party delegation led by its President Sharad Pawar, too, met Naidu, the Union Urban Development minister, and urged him to expedite the Pune Metro venture.