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Metro may become costlier

Not just buses and autos even metro riders may have to shell more money for a ride to their destination, reports Chetan Chauhan.

delhi Updated: May 09, 2007 23:53 IST

Not just buses and autos even metro riders may have to shell more money for a ride to their destination. It is not because Delhi metro has decided to hike fares but result of the Empowered Group of Ministers’ decision that security charges should be part of the operational cost.

The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGOM) meeting held recently approved the Urban Development ministry’s proposal that the cost of security should not be included in the project cost. Instead, it should be ‘treated as an operational cost.” It means, according to an Urban Development ministry official, that the cost of the security will have to be passed on to the consumer. “DMRC recovers its entire operational cost from the riders,” he added.

Jittered by the decision, DMRC officials said that the ministry of Home Affairs is yet to decide on the EGOM’s verdict. The group had stated that the security related expenditure for public transport services like metro would require to be looked into by the ministry of Home Affairs as a “sovereign function”.

The official said, “ No final decision has been taken. We are yet to hold a meeting with Home Ministry on the issue,” he said. The MHA bears the annual expenditure of Rs 27 crores for providing CISF security at metro station. DMRC only bears Rs 16 crore, a one time cost for providing security infrastructure.

UD ministry officials, however, say the MHA may have to re-think on its financial commitment to the DMRC, as other cities would ask for similar concession for its metro service. Metro projects are coming up in Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

In the light of DMRC may have to bear the heavy charges for deploying CISF, the EGOM has suggested that Delhi metro should consider having its own security arrangement in near future. DMRC officials, however, refused to comment on this.

That’s is not the only blow for Delhi. The EGOM has also decided that the metro line between New Delhi Railway Station and IGI Airport would not get any tax concessions from the government like the entire metro’s second phase except Central Secretariat Badarpur corridor. DMRC would be saving about Rs 1,100 crores in the second phase of Rs 7,500 crores because of the tax concessions.

The airport line to be constructed on Public Private Partnership would be run by a private consortium for a period of 30 years with private partners bringing international quality rolling stock and signalling system. “The price of travelling in the airport metro would be much higher than the other metro lines,” a government official said.

The government has also taken a policy decision that no tax concessions would be given for construction of any metro line in India, except the already approved lines of second phase of Delhi metro. Hence, the cost of construction of metros in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore would be much higher, although the government is considering of granting loans to these cities at reasonable interest rates.