With a price tag of Rs 15,000 crore, the proposed Pune Metro rail project is an ambitious venture, as well as a pressing one. While the pieces of the puzzle seem to be falling into place, with the centre earlier this month promising to make a provision for the undertaking in the union budget for the
next financial year, collation of funds appears to be a challenge — or at least it did, till recently.
“The Japanese finance ministry is ready in principle to lend Rs 8,000 crore for the project. Details of the rate of interest and other factors will be finalised later if PMC agrees to the offer,” Sameer Khale, president, Association of Friends of Japan (Pune Branch) told MiD DAY.
AFJ is a non-profit organisation that works mainly towards helping promote businesses and cultural relations between the two countries. Khale said he had gone to the Japanese embassy in Delhi a month ago to discuss the project and funding and had received a positive feedback.
“Japan and Pune have shared friendly ties for years. The Japanese government is not only willing to provide money, but also technical support if required. The funds will be released via Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The contract will be formulated by Government of India and Government of Japan. PMC will not be directly involved in the process,” Khale said.
He added, “Earlier, the island nation had invested a relatively small amount of money and expertise in developing the Okayama Garden in Pu La Deshpande Udyan on Sinhagad Road. The Japanese government has also bankrolled projects for Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation and Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) in the past.”
Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak, said, “There is an open offer and there is no harm in acquiring a loan from a country like Japan, which usually charges low interest rates. The only problems that we sometimes have to face are because of the fluctuating currency exchange rates.
The last word on this will be spoken by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and union urban development minister Kamal Nath. Though, we had forwarded the proposal for 16-km Metro corridor from Vanaz (Paud Road) to Ramwadi (Ahmadnagar Road) for union cabinet approval, work can’t start immediately because of the lack of provisioning of funds.”