Rapid rail, Metro Phase-IV projects stuck for over a year
The Delhi government said the projects are stuck due to the new tax regime, but sources blame it on lack of funds.Updated: Jan 06, 2018 17:58 IST
The city’s two ambitious projects – the Delhi-Meerut high-speed rail corridor and Metro Phase-IV – have been stuck for over a year with the Delhi government due to “financial reasons,” according to sources.
Once commissioned, the projects will not only strengthen the public transport system, but will also reduce nearly 20 lakh vehicles from the road every day and as much as 19 lakh tonnes of pollutants annually.
Sources said that the files, especially of the Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS), have been doing the rounds of various departments, but to no avail.
One reason for the delay is lack of funds, sources said. As soon as the Delhi government gives its approval, it will have to disburse a total of Rs 13,671 crore for the two projects within 3-4 months.
Its share for the 104-kilometre Metro Phase-IV project is Rs 12,597 crore out of its total cost of Rs 52,625 crore. For the Delhi-Meerut RRTS corridor, the Delhi government will have to give Rs 1074.2 crore of the total project cost of Rs 32,598.6 crore.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, transport minister Kailash Gahlot, however, said that the approvals were stuck because of the new tax regime. “We are waiting for the GST implications on both the projects and only after that will the government be able to approve them,” Gahlot said.
Even as the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) claimed of having submitted the revised funding pattern under GST to the Delhi government’s transport department, Gahlot said he was not aware of the same.
The National Capital Region Transport Corporation Limited (NCRTC), which is implementing the RRTS, however, is yet to give the fresh funding pattern as per GST. It claimed that it was a minor issue and should not be a reason to hold up the project.
The 90-km-long RRTS project was placed before the Delhi government in December last year for approval, whereas, the Metro Phase-IV project report was first submitted on October 7, 2014.
The Uttar Pradesh government has already given its approval. Vinay Kumar Singh, managing director of NCRTC, said the company is ready to start construction as soon as it gets the Delhi government’s green signal. “In the recent meeting of NCR planning board, we have been assured of getting the approval at the earliest. As soon as we get it, construction work shall begin,” Kumar said.
For Metro Phase-IV, the Delhi Cabinet had first approved the project with riders about its funding pattern. Later, it agreed to withdraw its conditions. But, no fresh approval has been given ever since as the Cabinet is yet to take up the matter.
According to an internal report of NCRTC accessed by HT, 36% commuters travelling between Delhi and Meerut use cars, 32% use the sub-urban railways and 27% use two-wheelers to commute.
But, once the Delhi-Meerut RRTS is ready, the share of car users is expected to go down to 22%, and the share of two-wheelers to 15%. Almost 46% of the traffic is expected to shift to RRTS. It is expected to carry about 7 lakh passengers daily.
The Metro Phase-IV network is expected to have a daily ridership of 8.5 lakh and will expand the reach of the Metro network to 434 kilometres with its six new lines. As per the projection, by 2018, when Phase-III of Delhi Metro network will be fully operational, about 7 lakh cars will go off roads per day and the number is expected to double by 2023 when Phase-IV is completed.
“But for that, we need to start construction. The cost is already increased by 5-7% and the contractors, who are part of construction of Phase-III, will started moving out now. Bringing them back will increase the cost,” a DMRC official said.
Official sources said that the delay of both the projects is expected to increase the cost by Rs 1,200 crore, which is more than the share of Delhi government in these projects.