In what must come as a strong signal to the Kejriwal led Delhi government, the Center has made it clear that when it comes to infrastructure projects it won’t be waiting indefinitely for Delhi government’s nod. This comes in view of the Delhi-Meerut rapid rail project. The housing urban affairs ministry has sent the Rs 31,600 crore to the finance ministry for its appraisal.
Once appraised, the project would be placed before the union cabinet. A cabinet nod will pave the way for starting work on the ambitious 82-km long mass transport project connecting Delhi (Sarai Kale Khan) with Ghaziabad, Murad Nagar and Modi Nagar. This project is critical to seamless connectivity on this stretch as the existing highway is congested due to heavy volume of traffic and there is not much scope for widening it to meet the growing traffic demand.
According to sources, the urban affairs ministry was miffed and left with no option but to send the proposal directly to the finance ministry. Delhi government is shamelessly delaying approval to the project leading to avoidable cost escalation for executing the mega infrastructure project. The Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh has acted swiftly and has already sanctioned the project. A government official has stated, “As soon as the Cabinet puts its stamp on the project, the bidding process can start and construction can be carried out in the portion falling in UP. That will build more pressure on the Delhi administration to act.” This shows how the Modi government at the center and the Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh are firm in their commitment towards providing world class infrastructure and rapid development but Kejriwal government can’t see above party lines and political blame game. The Center is left with no option but to proceed without an incompetent chief minister’s approval and build up pressure in order to ensure that the citizenry is not left devoid of such a critical infrastructural project.
This is not for the first time that Kejriwal has faced flak from the center because of his casual and lethargic approach. Earlier, urban affairs minister Hardeep Puri had made it clear that the center would go ahead with the DMRC phase-IV and other such projects if the Delhi government delayed approval for the projects.
The funding for Delhi-Meerut rapid rail project will come from the center, the states and loans from multilateral funding agencies. While 60% of the project cost will come in the form of loans from multilateral funding agencies, 20% will come from the Center. The rest 20% will be shared by UP and Delhi governments. Officials have added that there is a need to expedite the approval process for this project as it is a long gestation project. NCRTC has been set up as a special agency to execute the rapid rail project. It had approved the project for the Delhi-Meerut stretch way back in December 2016 itself.
The way center had to bypass the Kejriwal-led Delhi government must come as a massive embarrassment for the AAP and its supporters. This also exposes that Kejriwal and his party are anti-people and anti-development. All they know is how to create senseless controversies and derive political mileage out of them. Modi government has made it clear that its priority lies with the people of India and not with this incompetent chief minister who is adamant on delaying approvals lying on the Lt. Governor’s sofa in an ‘AC dharna’ in the name of democratic protest. This is also a massive embarrassment for Kejriwal who used to propagate, “Wo pareshan karte rahe, hum kam karte rahe” in a veiled reference to the central government. However, with this there is no confusion as to who is working and who is creating trouble.