The work on Chennai Metro Phase-II priority stretches will begin shortly. In its Budget, the State government has allocated ?2,681 crore for the Metro project, as share capital and debt. According to the Budget speech by Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, JICA has already approved a funding of ?20,196 crore for implementing the priority stretches in Phase-II, totalling 52.01 km, from Madhavaram to Sholinganallur and Madhavaram to the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT). The State government has also accorded administrative sanction for ?40,941 crore to commence the work shortly, he said. Funding arrangements for other stretches were also in progress, he said. Discussions were on with foreign banks for seeking loans for the remaining stretches, he added. Expanded coverage With the implementation of the Phase-II project, the Metro coverage in the city will expand to 173 km. Meanwhile, a feasibility study has begun for extending the Metro from Chennai airport to the Kilambakkam Metro Bus Terminus.