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Delhi Metro sole consultant for Karachi metro

Bijith R in New Delhi | August 08, 2008 15:36 IST

After successfully transforming the public transport scenario in the national capital, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has emerged as the sole consultant for the metro rail network to be set up in Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city.

The development took place irrespective of the recent escalation in tension and war of words between India and Pakistan. "We will be the sole consultant for the Karachi Metro," DMRC Managing Director Elattuvalapil Sreedharan told Business Standard.

The matter has been referred to the external affairs ministry which is learnt to be favourably disposed towards it.

Once it gets South Block's go-ahead, DMRC will send a team of its officials to Karachi to prepare a detailed project report.

Sreedharan said this will include all aspects of the project including ridership surveys, route and site (for stations) selection, cost and revenue projections as well as fare structures.

Delhi Metro, which is often credited with completing all projects on time, besides running its traffic operations profitably, has been approached by several cities abroad for advice.

Apart from that, its efficiency parameters are better than most metros around the world.

The corporation has already provided some consultancy to the Lahore metro project. Recently, it completed the operational consultancy report for the Jakarta Metro, and has received similar requests from countries like Sri Lanka, Syria, Ireland and Vietnam.

According to Sreedharan, the company was even offered to run the Damascus Metro, though it declined the offer.

Among several domestic metro projects, DMRC has agreed to construct the Kochi Metro after receiving a request from the Kerala government. This apart, it has been acting as the consultant for the metro services planned in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Pune, among others.

Sreedharan said DMRC charges consultancy fees of Rs 10 lakh (Rs 1 million) per km from Indian metros. Since DMRC is a public sector undertaking and the metro rail is meant for public service, he added this fee is about a fifth of what a private consultant would charge.

However, Sreedharan said he would charge more consultancy fees for Karachi Metro as the costs involved in stationing his people there would be more. "Our fees for Karachi could be at least 100 per cent more," he said, adding that this would still be way below what other consultants would charge for similar services.

Trade relations between India and Pakistan have remained a non-starter, in spite of several attempts at track-two diplomacy from both sides.

A high-level delegation from Pakistan had visited India in June and had a first-hand experience of how the Delhi Metro worked.

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