Many routes on Delhi Metro’s Phase 4 are unviable, says Manish Sisodia
There is no point of having an expensive Metro which nobody will use, says deputy chief minister.Updated: Mar 07, 2018 08:16 IST
A day after the Centre decided to go ahead with the Metro Phase 4 project without waiting for the Delhi government’s approval, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia called the routes in the proposed Metro expansion “unviable”.
Sisodia, on Tuesday, said the Centre can go ahead with its plans. “The Centre has a lot of money. So, it can go ahead,” he said.
The 104-kilometre network proposed in phase 4 will connect Mukundpur with Saket and will benefit south Delhi residents. It has been pending with the Delhi government for over two years.
The deputy CM also said that if Metro phase 4 is implemented with the currently proposed routes, then fares will have to be increased exponentially. “I have been reading the new phase 4 proposal that came to us. We have found that there are some routes that are completely unviable. It would only lead to fare hikes,” he said.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which prepares the detailed project report, refused to comment on the issue.
“First the Delhi government unnecessarily delays the project and then they blame the Centre. If they had a issue with the routes how come they did not talk about it or wrote to us. Delhi CM had met the housing minister many times but never raised these issues related to metro’s phase four,” said a senior Union Housing and a Urban Affairs ministry official who did not want to be identified.
On Monday, Union housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said the government can’t let commuters’ interest suffer if the Delhi government failed to approve projects. “We have decided that we will implement the project ourselves after failing to get the support and cooperation of Delhi government,” he had said.
Sisodia said the government is studying the proposal. “We are studying phase 4 routes. The aim is to make the project more practical because ultimately people have to use it. There is no point of having an expensive Metro, which nobody will use,” Sisodia said.
The AAP government had in May 2016 given in-principle approval but the Union housing and urban affairs ministry returned the file, saying it needed to get financial approval first. The Delhi government did not reply since then.
The Delhi government also questioned the payment structure of Metro projects. “When you increase Metro fares, the Delhi government is never consulted. But, when it comes to losses and other project costs, everything is considered 50:50. This is not fair,” a government spokesperson said.
Puri had earlier written to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal that the delay in the commencement of phase 4 was not only causing health hazards but had also resulted in Rs 12,000-crore cost escalation in the project.
Because of the alleged delay by the Delhi government, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had in January sought approval for phase 4 in two phases.