2012 witnessed quite a few developments on the urban development front including granting of a two-year extension to unfinished projects under JNNURM but it is the closing down of the Airport Metro Express line here that grabbed headlines.
For the urban development ministry, led by Kamal Nath, the Airport Metro Express came not just as an embarrassment but also a challenge.
The service was closed on July 8 and a blame game between the concessionaire Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) seemed to be brewing up when the ministry had to step in.
Though the ministry managed to get the faults repaired, after nearly six months of closure it appears that the high speed metro line will function only in the new year, and chances are that it will be at a reduced speed.
During the year, the country's flagship infrastructure scheme the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) also completed its normal tenure of five years.
However, with a vast number of infrastructure projects still to complete, the ministry decided and got a two-year extension for ongoing projects. The ministry also began work to finalise the details of the second phase of JNNURM.
Several metro projects witnessed significant progress in implementation across the country including in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Jaipur.
The foundation-stone of Kochi Metro was laid by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Kochi in Kerala on September 13. The 25.3 km Kochi Metro Rail Project will be fully elevated and has a total completion cost of Rs. 5,181 crore.
The government also decided to expand Metro connection from Dwarka to Najafgarh at a completion cost of Rs 1,070 crore. Apart from this, the extension of Mukundpur-Yamuna Vihar metro line to Shiv Vihar was also sanctioned besides extension of Delhi Metro from Mundka to Bahadurgarh, in Haryana.
The year also saw preparation of plans for Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) being accorded priority. These corridors are the Delhi-Sonipat-Panipat corridor, the Delhi-Gurgaon-Rewari-Alwar and another one between Delhi- Ghaziabad and Meerut.
The ministry further cleared the decks for the Delhi government to regularise 917 unauthorised colonies during the year. Around 40 lakh residents in these colonies are likely to benefit from the regularisation which would entail government spending on civic infrastructure. The Delhi government had completed all the ground work for regularisation of the colonies.
The year also witnessed four technical committees of the Delhi Development Authority engaged in reviewing four broad areas of the Delhi Master Plan. Top public servants, town planners, urban designers and architects offered their views on the broad ideas that the improved Master Plan seeks to incorporate.