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Monday, Aug 26, 2019

Centre refuses to reconsider Metro Phase-4 nod, tells Delhi to fall in line

The project, already delayed by over four years, has seen the state and the Centre spar over the issue of fund sharing.

delhi Updated: Jun 27, 2019 07:46 IST
Anisha Dutta
Anisha Dutta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Delhi government held that its share of funding had increased by nearly 31% after the Union Cabinet had approved three “priority” corridors for Phase-4 with a total completion cost of nearly Rs. 25,000 crore last March.
The Delhi government held that its share of funding had increased by nearly 31% after the Union Cabinet had approved three “priority” corridors for Phase-4 with a total completion cost of nearly Rs. 25,000 crore last March.(PTI)
         

The central government has refused the Delhi government’s request to revise its approval for the Delhi Metro’s Phase-4 expansion plan, and instead asked it review its decision to stop work on the project.

In a letter, secretary of ministry of housing and urban affairs Durga Shankar Mishra to Delhi chief secretary Vijay Kumar Dev, a copy of which has been seen by HT, said, “The directive of GNCTD (Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi) to DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) not to start the work of phase IV will further jeopardise the expansion of metro network in the capital and leave it devoid of benefits apart from adding to cost and time overruns,” Shankar wrote.

The project, already delayed by over four years, has seen the state and the Centre spar over the issue of fund sharing.The project was to be implemented by DMRC, the existing 50:50 Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) of the Government of India and the GNCTD.

The Delhi government held that its share of funding had increased by nearly 31% after the Union Cabinet had approved three “priority” corridors for Phase-4 with a total completion cost of nearly Rs. 25,000 crore last March. In April, Delhi directed the DMRC to not start work till the Centre revised its approval.

“Proposal for DMRC phase IV in its final form was received at the end of December, 2018. Considering the urgency and importance of this project which was pending which was pending for some reason or the other since October 2014 , GoI processed the approval for three priority corridors, which were highly populated and facing serious congestion in ubran transport before the advent of the model code of conduct,” Shankar wrote.

The Delhi government had argued that the overall cost of the project approved by Delhi cabinet cannot be changed. The ministry said the state government, in January, had submitted another report comprising six corridors with revised costs, which again stalled the project.

“You are aware that there cannot be any special privilege conditions for Delhi. All metro projects in any part of the country are approved as per metro rail policy 2017 or practices evolved over the years. These conditions were applied in approving Delhi Metro phase 4 project. Hence there is no question of accepting of accepting the recommendation of GNCTD...,” Shankar wrote.

Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot said he has not received the letter yet. He said the Delhi Cabinet had approved Metro Phase-IV in its entirety. “The union Cabinet cleared only three out of six corridors which is a variation from what the Delhi cabinet had approved. In such a scenario, these three corridors need Delhi cabinet’s approval again, further delaying the process,” he said.

First Published: Jun 27, 2019 05:36 IST

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