The people be damned, the government wants its cut first.
That, in short, seems to be the story of the proposed light rail transit system that would have connected the Sikanderpur station of Metro with DLF phases II and III, Cybercity and Mall of India by 2011.
DLF, which proposed the project, had anticipated a daily user base of 1.65 lakh riders.
However, the Rs 585 crore, 3.5 km link seems stuck for now. While the state government’s move to invite expression of interest bids from infrastructure companies — to ensure transparency — cannot be faulted, the demand for Rs 200 crore as a ‘connectivity charge’ is certainly questionable.
Other riders, such as sharing the revenue accruing from the project and extending the proposed alignment to Udyog Vihar for industrial workers, have also discouraged bidders, who claim that this project is not profit-oriented.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a DLF official said, “This is not a profit-oriented project, as the low user base would not allow bidders to break even for many years.”
Another official pointed out that the project cost was on the rise each day.
“The work on this project should have begun by now. About 70 per cent of the equipment would have to be imported against foreign currency, which is getting stronger by the day. The cost of steel and cement, too, has gone up in the last few months. If delayed further, the light rail transit system project would become financially unviable and never materialise.”
Due to the lack of interest among prospective bidders, the Haryana government has now extended the deadline for submitting the final bid for the light rail transit system project to December 10.