The Delhi government on Wednesday gave financial sanction to six new corridors of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), the new name given to the High Capacity Bus System (HCBS), amounting to Rs 1,820 crore. This is one of the highest ever amount given at one go for the improvement of the public transport system of the city.
The six corridors of BRT would come up even as massive traffic snarls have clogged the under construction route from Ambedkar Nagar to Moolchand. The death of a person in an accident in this stretch had led to a major uproar in the city. This had forced Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to say that this was a “pilot project”. However, the financial sanction given to the corridors now suggest that it is not a “pilot” project but a new mode of transport for the entire city.
After chairing a meeting of the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) of Delhi Government, Finance Minister A.K. Walia said the combined route length of the six corridors would be 107 km and cover most of the geographical areas of the city. “This would be the modern and hi-tech alternative of the Blueline buses,” Walia said. Transport Minister Haroon Yusuf was also present in the meeting.
Asked about the new corridors even as the debate on the usefulness of the controversial under construction corridor is not yet over, Yusuf said adequate arrangements have now been made in the stretch between Ambedkar Nagar to Moolchand so that there is no commuter inconvenience. “With this approval, the thrust will be on improvement of the public transport system. People who do not want to commute by private cars can now opt for the modern public transport system,” said the Transport Minister.
Of the Rs 1,820 crore, the 8.8 km long Shastri Park-Karawal Nagar stretch would cost Rs 128.22 crores, the 27.75 km Moolchand-Jahangirpuri corridor Rs 346.12 crore and 15.70 km Kondli-Gokulpuri stretch would come up at a cost of Rs 360.33. The stretch of 26.60 km connecting Jamia Milia in south Delhi to Tilak Nagar in west Delhi would cost Rs 497.62 crores. The fifth corridor would be the 17.10 km long Nizamuddin-Nand Nagri stretch at Rs 376.64 crore and the sixth from Rajendra Nagar to Pragati Maidan with a cost of Rs 110.17 crore and having 10.8 kilometres.
Yusuf said that while five of the routes would be completed by the end of December 2009, the Moolchand-Jahangirpuri stretch would take April 2010 to get completed. “All the routes will be in place before the Commonwealth Games,” the minister added.