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(Source: The Financial Express)

Delhi Metro Phase 4: Modi government may go alone with big infrastructure project as AAP govt delays

Delhi Metro!

In a first, the Central government, alone is likely to go ahead with Delhi Metro’s phase 4 project as the proposal has been pending with Delhi’s AAP government for over two years.

If the plan is successfully executed, it would be a first, since till now Delhi Metro projects the Central government and the Delhi government are equal shareholders.

Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs was quoted as saying by IE that the Central government has been left with no choice but to go execute the project alone due to an inordinate delay on the part of Delhi’s AAP government.

He also said that people of Delhi cannot be held to ransom. There has been no progress despite reminding Arvind Kejriwal several times, he reportedly said.

Some sources were quoted in the report saying that at present, financial implications of the move are being worked out. According to the sources, the Central government is aware of the fact it would be a violation of the 50-50 partnership model but due to the sheer scale of the project, it intends to go ahead alone. As per official records, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot has the file containing the proposal of the estimated Rs 55,000 crore phase 4 project of Delhi Metro. In 2016, an in-principle approval was given to the project but the financial aspect was left out.

According to an official in the Delhi transport department, under the GST arrangement, the state government will have to shell out more money than the Central government. The official further said that in the future, the entire operational losses of the corridors will have to be borne by the Delhi transport department. Recently, the Delhi finance department observed that the government can give its approval to four of the six proposed corridors.

The AAP cabinet has still not taken up the observation of the finance department. The report stated that however, the DMRC is not in agreement with the observations of the finance department as the 22 km long Tughlakabad-Aerocity line is not included in it.

The projects which got approved by the finance department are Janakpuri West-R K Ashram line of 28.92 km, Inderlok-Indraprastha line of 12.58 km, Mukundpur-Maujpur line of 12.54 km and Lajpat Nagar-Saket G Block line of 7.96 km.

Other than the Tughlakabad-Aerocity line, the Rithala-Narela line of 21.73 km has been shown the red flag by the finance department due to a possible lack of ridership. A transport department official was quoted saying that Delhi Metro officials believe that leaving the Tughlakabad-Aerocity corridor would be impossible as the there are plans to develop a maintenance depot as well as related infrastructure on the corridor. Delhi Metro officials believe the exclusion of the line makes the entire project unviable, he added.

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