DMRC asks Centre, states to cover Covid-19 induced losses
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which had to shut operations in March last year for 169 days owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, is facing a funds squeeze and has sought a financial assistance of ₹1678.41 crore from the Centre and the state governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
The DMRC had written to the Centre and the Delhi government in November last year too in this regard.
The DMRC, it is learnt, has been incurring operational losses since it resumed services on September 7 last year. With Metro operations shut for 169 days following the nationwide lockdown announced by the Centre in March last year due to the pandemic, DMRC’s revenue has shrunk drastically.
On January 14, Delhi Metro chief Mangu Singh wrote to Union housing and urban affairs ministry and state governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to release funds for them at the earliest. HT has seen copies of the letters written by Singh.
The DMRC has asked the Centre and the Delhi government to pay ₹541.33 crore and ₹887.15 crore respectively, while asking the Haryana and UP government to release ₹143.72 crore and ₹106.21 crore respectively. This is just 50% of the operational losses incurred by the Metro in the financial year 2020-21.
While the Centre and Delhi government are to share the operational losses equally for Phase I and II corridors, for Phase III, the Delhi government is mandated to pay entirely for the operational losses.
While requesting the Centre and state governments to release the funds at the earliest, Singh wrote, “…DMRC is facing an unprecedented financial crunch making it difficult to even meet day-to-day expenses.”
A senior Central government official said, “The matter was referred to our integrated finance division for consideration. The division has certain observations and has also asked for an audited amount. The matter has been referred back to DMRC.”
Prodded about the same, DMRC officials didn’t comment on the issue.
While officials with Haryana government’s town and country planning department said that they are examining the matter, the Delhi government didn’t respond to HT’s query.
No one from the UP government could be reached for a comment.
The total loss for the financial year 20-21 is estimated to be ₹2,856 crore. With its operations closed for 169 days, the DMRC incurred losses close to ₹1,700 crore during that period. Its revenue from other sources, such as property development, also dropped due to the pandemic.
Revenue from tickets is one of the main sources of funds for Delhi Metro. That revenue too has dropped , as DMRC has been running its services at only 50% capacity due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
(With inputs from Hitender Rao)