Maharashtra: Due to poor ridership, Metro may end up being ‘white elephant’ for state,says Jayant Patil

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Minister for Water Resources Jayant Patil at BMCC in Pune on Friday. (Photo: Ashish Kale)

Pointing out the low ridership in Metro trains in some cities, state Minister for Water Resources, Jayant Patil, on Friday said Metro services in cities across Maharashtra may turn out to be ‘white elephants’ in 10 years.

Patil was speaking at the memorial of Rajabhau Chitale, organised at Brihan Maratha College of Commerce (BMCC) in Pune, where the NCP leader took a dig at the erstwhile BJP-led government which, during its tenure, had rolled out the Nagpur Metro in record time.

“Very few people commute on the Metro line... in Nagpur. Similar is the state of affairs in other cities. Within 10 years, the metro services, including the one under construction in Pune, will prove to be white elephants and add to the state’s financial burden,” said Patil.

While he hailed the overall progress made by Maharashtra, the minister suggested ways to keep the the economy in good shape, one of them being attracting foreign investments.

He, however, added a word of caution. “There must be ease of doing business and the state governments must not create hurdles against smooth operations of these foreign collaborators. Long-term detailed planning should be undertaken with futuristic vision. One way can be by providing industry with power at subsidised rates,’’ he said.

Patil also criticised the central government’s “selective approach of extending financial help to states with an unimpressive economy”. “The Centre must review and compare its own budgets presented during two consecutive years, then calculate the results and outputs of the states. The Centre must not ignore the top-performing states and extend help on the basis of their contributions,” he added.