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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

DMRC to start Rapid Metro takeover on Monday

The transfer to the DMRC is expected to be completed latest by October 16, until which time IL&FS Rail will operate the Metro lines as per their proposal, which was submitted to the court earlier this week.

gurugram Updated: Sep 21, 2019 03:15 IST
Prayag Arora-Desai
Prayag Arora-Desai
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
The high court on Friday disposed of two petitions filed by the Haryana government, challenging a termination notice served to it in July by the Rapid Metro.
The high court on Friday disposed of two petitions filed by the Haryana government, challenging a termination notice served to it in July by the Rapid Metro.(Parveen Kumar/HT ARCHIVE)
         

Transfer of the Rapid Metro’s operations and maintenance to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will begin on Monday, in accordance with the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The high court on Friday disposed of two petitions filed by the Haryana government, challenging a termination notice served to it in July by the Rapid Metro. The state government and the Rapid Metro’s operators are expected to resolve the ongoing dispute by arbitration in the coming weeks, pending a forensic audit of the Rapid Metro’s finances.

Officials familiar with the matter said that both parties were able to arrive at a consensus on further proceedings, thus ensuring that the Rapid Metro’s services will continue uninterrupted. The transfer to the DMRC is expected to be completed latest by October 16, until which time IL&FS Rail will operate the Metro lines as per their proposal, which was submitted to the court earlier this week.

The handover to DMRC shall take place under the supervision of justice (retd) Kailash Gambhir and justice (retd) VK Gupta, who have been appointed at the request of both parties.

The high court on Friday also upheld the Haryana government’s request to rope in the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for conducting a forensic audit of the Rapid Metro’s finances. “The CAG shall be assisted by auditors of both parties, with further directions that CAG shall submit its report within a period of 30 days, and the scope of the audit will be provided by HMRTC and HSVP,” said Chetan Mittal, advocate for Haryana in the matter.

Mittal also confirmed that the HSVP and HMRTC would pay a combined 80% of the Rapid Metro’s accrued debt as per the terms of the original contract. “However, this debt will now be ascertained by the CAG,” Mittal added.

HT, on Friday, also accessed the Haryana government’s response to IL&FS Rail’s proposal, dated September 17, in which the company had offered to continue running the service till October 16.

“With respect to the request of the RMGL and RMGSL to continue to operate the said Metro Lines for a period of 30 days, it is stated that HMRTC and HSVP have already entered into a formal agreement with the DMRC... And it is categorically stated that HMRTC and HSVP has signed the said agreement on account of the fact that previously RMGL/RMGSL were not acceding to the request of HMRTC/HSVP to run the said Metro Lines for sufficient period during which effective resolution of the entire matter could be achieved,” it was stated

“Now, after having signed the said agreement with DMRC, HMRTC/HSVP is also of the view that the entire process of handover of O&M for the said Metro Lines to DMRC be done under the supervision of Hon’ble (Retd) High Court Judge as may be appointed by the Hon’ble Court within reasonable time,” the email stated.

The government declined to let the Rapid Metro’s operators act as agents, instead of concessionaires. “It is stated that it will lead to further complications. HMRTC and HSVP have transferred the amount of insurances and the entire control will remain with the RMGL and RMGSL during this period. RMGL and RMGSL shall continue their O&M in terms of the concession agreements,” the email read.

Officials in the DMRC did not respond to multiple requests for comment and senior IL&FS functionaries declined to speak on the matter.