Executed by the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), the 82 km-long corridor is estimated to cost $3.7 billion.
The project is aimed at reducing traffic congestion on the Delhi-Meerut route which in turn would reduce pollution in the capital, according to a finance ministry statement. The daily passenger traffic along the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor is estimated at 690,000 with 63% using private vehicles for commuting, it said.
The NDB loan came with a 25 year tenor along with an eight-year grace period. The Shanghai-headquartered bank was formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank.
The funds will be used to finance rolling stock for energy efficient operations and interoperability across corridors. It will also be used to procure signalling, telecommunication and train control systems with features such as automatic train operation, automatic train protection, automatic train supervision and integration with platform screen doors, it said.
The agreement was signed by Baldeo Purushartha, joint secretary, department of economic affairs, Janardan Prasad, director (urban transport), housing and urban affairs ministry, Vinay Kumar Singh, managing director, NCRTC and Xian Zhu, vice president, NDB, the statement said.
The rest of the project funding will come from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ($500 million), Asian Development Bank ($1.05 billion), Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction ($3 million), and the government and other sources ($1.7 billion), it said.
The first section of the Delhi-Meerut RRTS corridor is expected to be commissioned by 2023 while the entire project should be commissioned by 2025. While the commute by road takes about three-four hours, the RRTS would ferry passengers at average speeds of 100 kmph, the statement said.