‘NMRC will build a 29-km link from Noida City Centre’
The new rail corporation proposed for handling the Metro network in Noida will start functioning by the end of 2013, Noida Authority CEO Rama Raman tells Vandana Ramnani
Rama Raman is the CEO and chairman of Noida authority. When asked if he’s from south India, his response is that he belongs to Bihar, Raman is his first name and that he graduated in electrical engineering from Banaras Hindu University. An IAS officer of the 1987 batch, he has been district magistrate (DM) of Mirzapur, Pratapgarh, Bareilly, Gorakhpur and Meerut. Raman was on deputation at the Centre before he joined the Greater Noida authority in 2010 and is now heading both the Noida and Greater Noida authorities.
On how he manages a worklife balance, Raman tells us that he meditates in the morning and that is what keeps him going through the day. Here he talks to HT Estates on issues that impact Noida west, formerly known as Noida Extension. Noida Extension in Greater Noida was founded to provide affordable housing units. Following the land acquisition controversy, does it still remain affordable, does the premise of affordable housing still hold as prices shoot up? Do housing opportunities in Noida west still exist? Noida Extension was created to provide affordable housing options to homebuyers. And work was initially done in that direction. The idea was to give homebuyers options in the R15 lakh to R20 lakh range. Following court orders (over the land acquisition issue), work remained stalled for over a year and we were ordered to pay 64% extra compensation to the farmer and that load fell on the builder. This led to an increase in plot prices, but by then the cost of construction had also increased and banks, too, had stopped funding the projects. The wheels of a running vehicle came to a halt. But now work has started and projects will be completed. The authority has plans to increase the FAR (floor area ratio) from the existing 2.75 to 3.5. This will lead to an increase in the number of units coming up in Noida west. Have the authority and the developers made provisions for additional infrastructure that may be required to support a bigger population? The population envisaged under the present FAR provision of 2.75 is 13.60 lakh and in case we increase the FAR to 3.5, the population will rise to 17.40 lakh. We have already made provisions for additional infrastructure. We agree that there would be additional load on water supply so water will be provided from the Ganges river and through tubewells. We have also taken into account the number of sub stations that will be required to meet the demand and have earmarked areas where they will come up to generate electricity. The increased road width, BRT corridors and Metro corridors have also been looked into to allow for a planned infrastructure for the additional population. What about Metro connectivity to Noida Extension? The detailed project report for Noida and Greater Noida (till Pari Chowk) has already been sent to the UP government. After its approval it will be sent to the Central government. We have also proposed a Noida Metro Rail Company (NMRC) to expedite the Metro network in Noida and Greater Noida. An initial corpus of R1000 crore will be allocated as primary capital for the company. A special purpose vehicle between Noida and Greater Noida will be set up for undertaking the construction of the proposed Metro rail projects. We are first pushing the Pari Chowk connection, the Noida Extension line is also under consideration. In principle, it has been decided that the Metro connector in Greater Noida will be in a loop. The proposed 29-km link connecting Noida City Centre to Greater Noida will be constructed and operated by the yet-to-be formed NMRC, which is likely to start functioning by the end of the year. The state cabinet is likely to give a go-ahead to the formation of NMRC in the next 15 days following which we will seek the centre’s approval. Will the land in Shaberi village be acquired again? We will reacquire land in the Shaberi area. We have already started the acquisition process. Under our planning concept we cannot leave behind islands of land. If we do that, there will be no continuity when we lay the sewage and road lines. There will not be continuity in land development. Therefore, to maintain this continuity and ensure that land grabbers do not develop urban slums in the area, we will have to reacquire land in Shaberi. Has the environment been impacted in Noida Extension due to largescale construction? Wildlife has not been affected. As far as the water table is concerned, we have always insisted on water harvesting practices and also recommended that a 100m green belt is created. We are developing a green buffer, a thick forest along the Hindon river in the area. The survey has already started but acquisition of land for the green buffer is yet to begin. We have already lined up a consultant to do a project report on the issue. What are the authority’s plans to augment transport facilities in the area? We plan setting up a company to run a bus service in Noida and Greater Noida. It will hire private transporters to run the service. The board has given its approval and we have sent the proposal to the government. R100 crore have been authorised as capital for the city bus service.