Karaj Subway Closer to Launch
EghtesadOnline: The subway system in Karaj, the provincial center of Alborz Province, will start partial operation in six months, the chief of Tehran City Council said.
Mohsen Hashemi added that 90% of the first phase of Tehran Metro’s Line 2 tunneling have been completed, while it some major equipment need to be procured, YJC reported.
After completion, the line will connect Kamalshahr in the far west to Shahid Soltani Bridge in the east of the city with 27 kilometers of railroad and 27 stations.
Hashemi, who headed Tehran Metro Company before his present designation, visited the construction site early this week.
During the visit, he said tunneling has reached 14 km, 6.2 km of which are between Golshahr and Jahanshahr in the city center and will hopefully come on stream in a couple of months.
Speaking of financial issues, Hashemi said participatory bonds issued last year are yet to be redeemed.
The government has allocated 4 trillion rials ($15.56 million) to the project for the current fiscal year that ends in March 2021.
“The fund is expected to spur the development of Line 2,” he added.
Earlier in November, Karaj Mayor Ali Kamalizadeh said the construction of Line 5 of Karaj Metro is currently undergoing field studies and work is expected to commence before March 2021.
Line 5 will connect Rajaei-Shahr in the north to Mohammad-Shahr in the south of the city with 10 stations.
Karaj’s subway project was launched in 2006. A 102-km network of five lines, which will be connected to Tehran-Karaj subway, has been planned. Karaj is 35 km west of Tehran.
Up until a few months ago, only 12 kilometers of the tunnels had been dug and the project has made little progress over the past 13 years, more because of a lack of will among urban officials than inadequate funding.
However, Alborz Governor General Azizollah Shahbazi told reporters that the main reason behind the delay in the line’s completion is budget deficiency.
However, “the construction of tunnels is advancing rapidly”, he said optimistically.
On the contrary, some officials are pessimistic about the whole project’s development.
Mansour Vahidi, a member of Karaj City Council, says the metro project will not become operational even after six years.
“More than a decade has passed since the launch of the Karaj subway project, but mismanagement of resources and corruption have impeded progress,” he said.
“The progress so far is not significant compared to the total volume of construction ahead.”
Siphoning of Fund
Hossein Ardakani, another member of the city council, had earlier said over 500 workers using 420 pieces of heavy machinery are working round the clock on the project, stressing that lack of funds has always been a problem.
The councilor accused the former administration of undermining the project.
The sitting council was elected in May 2017 and has announced its determination to complete the subway “as soon as possible”. This is while the project’s infrastructure is not yet in place.
Mohammad Rostami, the project’s executive manager, told ISNA last October that since 2007, close to 5 billion rials ($19,455) have been spent monthly on the project, amounting to 700 billion rials ($2.7 million) so far.
Rostami had said that in the best-case scenario and in view of the current state of affairs, the first line of the subway network, which is 27 km long, will become operational in three years, provided monthly allocation increases to 800 billion rials ($3.1 million).
In short, he was asking for $104 million over the next three years.
The Alborz subway project is funded through several sources, including revenues from Karaj Municipality, government funding and bonds.
In late August, Rahim Khastou, vice chairman of Karaj City Council, said the budget allocated to the project is 10 times less than that of the Tehra subway project and that is why the work has not been proceeding well."
In September, the government authorized the issuance of participatory bonds worth 3 trillion rials ($11.67 million) to end the project’s stagnancy. City officials expect state financial support to expedite the process.