The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) gave its nod to the proposal of Delhi Metro to allow entry of private players in the proposed metro phase IV corridors. Under the proposed plan, the tracks will be set-up by Delhi metro and private coaches be made by private players. The selection of Private players for making coaches and to do other operational tasks will be done through a bidding process.
According to a Pioneer report, Delhi Metro will pay the private firm to run its trains. In order to operate other essential services across all the metro stations, such as elevators, escalators and AFC (automated fare collection) gates, the DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) has also proposed the involvement of private players. Besides, the Board of Directors of Metro also approved the proposal to procure 300 coaches for metro on lease. If all goes according to the plan then it would be the first time that private players will partner in running the Delhi metro rail.
A ding-dong between Delhi government and Central government over the funding pattern is causing unnecessary delay in the implementation of metro phase IV corridors. The Central government has already approved Metro phase IV corridors but approval on the part of Delhi government is still sought. Without the approval of both the Central and Delhi governments, the things would not proceed according to plan and the project may get delayed. Work for Delhi Metro phase IV corridors had to commence in 2016 and to be completed by 2021 but now the deadline stands at December 31, 2024. The project has been pending due to the lack of approval for nearly three years, with the files seemingly stuck with the Delhi Government. The total cost of metro phase IV was estimated at Rs 55,208 crore in 2016. Three corridors of phase IV have been approved by the Centre but is pending with the Delhi Government.
Despite the fact that Delhi Metro has become the lifeline of the city as well as of some parts of the NCR, the Delhi government is showing a careless attitude towards the plans of further expansion of the metro in Delhi and NCR.
This is not the first time that Delhi government’s attitude is causing delay to a project of immense importance. Earlier also, Kejriwal led Delhi government first delayed the nod to National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) project and later denied to contribute its share of funds in the Regional Rapid Transit project. The NCRTC which is the executing agency, estimated the share of the Delhi government in the Rs 31,902-crore project to be Rs 1,138 crore. “I write to convey that the Government of Delhi is ready to grant the in-principle approval for the implementation of Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) corridor. However, GNCTD does not have adequate finances to meet the cost. Therefore, I would urge that Delhi’s share in the project cost may be borne by the Central government,” wrote Kejriwal to central government. Kejriwal has money to spend on aids and campaigns, and even refreshments except for the infrastructure project. People from east Delhi were expected to be benefitted the most from the Regional Rapid Transit project and interestingly, Kejriwal’s party won many seats from this area but when it came to do something for these people, he backed off.
Connectivity is essential for economic growth of any country and the government-backed push for infrastructure development is expected to help the country in achieving its target of double-digit economic growth. The rate of highway construction touched 26 km per day in the period between April to June this year, as against 25 km per day in the same period last year. While Modi government takes infrastructure seriously, Kejriwal government is spending for populist policies to win next election and does not seem to be focusing on the long-term future of Delhi or Country.