Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin.(Twitter)Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin.(Twitter)

Chennai: Chief Minister M K Stalin urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to personally intervene and expedite the approval of funds from the Union Government for completing Phase-II of the Chennai Metro Rail (CMRL) project, under the 50:50 joint venture model.

‘Our Government was eagerly awaiting the approval by Union Government after the announcement for counterpart funding for the project was made in the Union Budget for 2021-2022 and upon the project being recommended by the Public Investment Board (PIB) on 17-08-2021 as a Central Sector Project under equity sharing model,’ Stalin said in a letter to Modi on Tuesday.

Recalling that Phase I of CMRL Project had been successfully implemented as a 50:50 joint venture between the Union Government and the Government of Tamil Nadu, he said, ‘Based on its success, we have approved the Phase II under the same model, having three more corridors covering 119 km, at a cost of Rs.63,246 crore. The same was recommended to the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), for approval during January 2019.’

With the recommendation of MoHUA and NITI Aayog, the funding approvals from JICA, ADB, AIIB and NDB had also been tied up and the Union Home Minister also laid the foundation stone for the Phase-II of CMRL project on November 21, 2020, Stalin said.

‘But, unfortunately there has not been any progress since then, in spite of this issue being pressed by me during my various meetings with you. I learned that the above proposal is awaiting the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for more than two years now,’ he said.

Though the State government, in anticipation of the Union Government’s approval, had commenced the work for Phase-II to ensure that the project was completed as per the timelines, the pace of work had slowed down due to the Union share being held up in the absence of CCEA approval, he said.

Since the government had been meeting the expenditure from state funds, the non-approval by CCEA approval had placed a severe stress on state finances, he said adding: ‘This issue needs to be addressed immediately so that this dream project of the people of Chennai can be implemented within the targeted time.’

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