Centre won’t play along with AAP, tells Delhi to end embargo on Metro Phase 4
The Kejriwal government had last month told DMRC to stop work on the new corridors cleared by the Union Cabinet in March this year till the Centre revised its approval in tune with the state government’s proposal of all six corridors.Updated: Jun 26, 2019, 21:51 IST
The Centre has told the Aam Aadmi Party government to let Delhi Metro Rail Corporation begin work on the three new corridors in the national capital under the project’s Phase 4 that has already been delayed by over four years.
The Arvind Kejriwal government had last month told Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, or DMRC, to stop work on the new corridors cleared by the Union Cabinet in March this year till the Centre revised its approval in tune with the state government’s proposal of all six corridors.
The three “priority” corridors - Aerocity to Tughlakabad, R. K Ashram to Janakpuri West and Maujpur to Mukundpur – are estimated to cost a little less than Rs 25,000 crore. These three would have added about 61 km of metro network in Delhi.
The Centre and the state government are equal shareholders in DMRC.
In a letter to the Delhi government, union housing and urban affairs secretary Durga Shankar Mishra made it clear that this wasn’t going to happen and asked chief secretary Vijay Kumar Dev to lift its ban.
“The directive of GNCTD to DMRC not to start the work of phase IV will further jeopardize the expansion of metro network in the capital and leave it devoid of benefits apart from adding to cost and time overruns,” Shankar said in his letter, a copy of which has been reviewed by Hindustan Times.
“You are aware that metro rail projects are approved after detailed examination which includes extensive inter-ministerial consultation. Proposals are appraised using due process which takes time. 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 urban transport before the advent of the model code of conduct,” Mishra wrote in his letter.
The Centre’s top urban affairs official also underlined that all metro projects are approved in line with the same policy and practices evolved over the years. The same conditions were applied to the Delhi project also when only three corridors were cleared.
“You are aware that there cannot be any special privilege conditions for Delhi…. Hence there is no question of accepting of accepting the recommendation of GNCTD, as mentioned above, which has not been done for any other metro project,” Durga Shankar Mishra said in his letter.
Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot said he has not received the letter yet adding that the Delhi Cabinet had approved Metro Phase-IV in its entirety. “But, the union Cabinet cleared only three out of the 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. Had the Centre cleared all six lines, this would not have happened,” he said.
The centre’s missive to the city government’s top bureaucrat was a response to the AAP government’s April 4 letter, telling Delhi Metro “not to start the work of Delhi metro phase IV till the ministry and the Government of India revise the approval communicated vide its letter dated March 9, 2019 of the three priority corridors of the phase IV in tune with the approval concurred by the GNCTD vide cabinet decision dated December 19, 2018.”
(Delhi government input by Sweta Goswami)