Delhi Metro’s Phase-IV project cleared after a two-year delay
After a delay of over two years, the Delhi government on Wednesday finally cleared the Delhi Metro’s Phase-IV project. Work on the 103.93-kilometre long line would begin from January, 2019, and is expected to be completed by December 31, 2024.
Despite stating previously that it would approve only three corridors, the Delhi cabinet, chaired by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, cleared all six lines of the project on Wednesday.
Elaborating on the cabinet decision, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said that the Phase-IV project was a New Year’s gift for Delhiites. “Once ready, the upcoming lines will provide seamless connectivity, especially to people of outer Delhi. The Delhi government will give its share of Rs 9,707 crore for the construction of the Metro lines, estimated to cost around Rs 46,000 crore,” he said.
While the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which will execute the project, refused to issue any statement on the matter, officials said the proposal will now go to the Centre for approval.
“Approval from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs won’t take much time as officials there have been seeking updates regularly. After the Centre’s approval, the DMRC will commence work on Phase-IV,” a Metro official said on condition of anonymity.
The proposed lines— Mukundpur-Maujpur (12.54 km), Rithala-Narela (21.73 km), Tughlakabad-Aerocity (20.20 km), Inderlok-Indraprastha (12.58km), Lajpat Nagar-Saket G Block (7.96km) and Janakpuri (west)-RK Ashram (28.92 km) — will cater to an estimated ridership of 10 lakh people every day.
Transport minister Kailash Gahlot said that after completion of the Phase-IV, the total length of the Metro network in Delhi-NCR will be approximately 453.58 kilometres. “The DMRC said it will execute all the six corridors simultaneously. In case there are any operating losses in Phase-IV, then it will be shared between the Delhi government and the Central government in a 50:50 proportion,” he said.
Metro officials also maintained they are not going to wait for the Phase-III project to be completed to start work on the Phase-IV corridors. “All major lines remaining under the phaseIII, which spans across 107 kilometres, will be completed by next month. Only smaller links such Mayur Vihar to Trilokpur, which is a one-kilometre stretch, will be finished by mid-2019,” another official said.
The Phase-IV project was earlier scheduled to be completed by 2022, but has now been pushed by two more years. The delay happened when the Delhi government had, in 2016, asked the finance department to conduct a feasibility study on Phase-IV.
In its report, the finance department wrote that the project could turn out to be a “colossal waste of money” and declared three of the six corridors “financially unviable”. Following this, the Delhi government refused to approve the project.
It was only in October that the Delhi government finally agreed to approve the Phase-IV project in its totality.
On November 4, Hindustan Times had reported how the cost of the project was slashed by nearly Rs 10,000 crore owing to reduction in the cost escalation projection.