"The survey for Metro Rail in Bhopal is a right step at the right time by the Madhya Pradesh government," Sreedharan, popularly known as 'Metro Man', said at a presentation organised by the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) on the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) Corridor and Traffic for Increasing Population here yesterday.
It may take six to seven years to start Metro Rail in Bhopal, he said.
Noting that Metro Rail was an expensive affair, Sreedharan said it will cost around Rs 100-110 crore per kilometre of the project.
He suggested that the State government prepare a city mobility plan and comprehensive transport plan before starting survey of Metro Rail. "After preparation of these plans, whenever the State government desires, the DMRC will start survey," Sreedharan said.
Before the commencement of the survey of Metro Rail, a feasibility survey would also be undertaken, he added.
The DMRC Managing Director said suburban rail service was also an useful option.
Suburban rail service will be established by the Railways but the cost will have to be borne by the State government, he said.
"Most B-grade cities like Lucknow, Indore and Bhopal at present have a population of almost two million plus and before that figure reaches three million, metro trains should be made available for public transportations," Sreedharan told reporters later.
Asked about the superfast bullet trains that are common in abroad, he said that though Kerala government has planned a project for bullet trains, it will take time to bring these trains into the country.
On the occasion, Madhya Pradesh Urban Administration and Development Minister, Babulal Gaur said Metro Rail was necessary in Bhopal to meet the increasing traffic pressure due to development of the city in all directions.
"Only Metro Rail will meet the demand of rapidly growing traffic of Bhopal. Any alternative to Metro Rail will be of no use," Gaur said referring to the Sreedharan's suggestion for using suburban rail service.
Japan and other countries give loan on minimum rate of interest for a long period for Metro Rail and efforts will be made to get loan from there, he said.
The Minister informed Sreedharan that around 60,000 people come to Bhopal daily from nearby towns and cities.
Moreover, looking into the fast development of the city area, Metro Rail is the necessity of the future, Gaur said adding that the city's population is expected to cross 40 lakh within the next 10 years while at present it is more than 20 lakh.