The Supreme Court Monday granted time to DDA to clarify its stand on increasing financial contribution, as proposed by EPCA, in three priority corridors of the fourth phase of the Delhi Metro project.
The 103.94 km long phase-IV of Delhi metro will consist of six corridors — Aerocity to Tughlakabad; Inderlok to Indraprastha; Lajpat Nagar to Saket G Block; Mukundpur to Maujpur; Janakpuri West to R K Ashram and Rithala to Bawana and Narela.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) had on March 9 this year approved the 61.66 km, three priority corridors — Aerocity to Tughlakabad, R K Ashram to Janakpuri (west) and Mukundpur to Maujpur — at a cost of Rs 24,948.65 crore.
The DDA’s counsel sought time from the bench to clarify their stand on the issue in which the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) has suggested that DDA can be asked to give Rs 2,500 crore for the three priority corridors out of their agreed Rs 5,000 crore for six corridors of phase-IV.
“Give us two days time. It is a matter of finance,” the DDA’s counsel told the bench.
To this, the bench said, “If you (DDA) are under the impression that you are obliging the court by doing it, then we can pass order directing you to do it”.
The counsel appearing for Delhi government told the bench that work for the phase-IV of metro should commence for all the six corridors.
Senior advocate Aparajita Singh, who is assisting the top court as an amicus curiae in the air pollution matter, said that though there are three priority corridors in phase-IV, the Centre had already granted in-principle approval for all the six corridors.
The bench asked Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, to clarify on the next date of hearing about the status of sanction for the six corridors.
The bench also asked the amicus, Centre and Delhi government to submit their note of proposal in the matter.
“Before filing anything in the court, you are going to the press. This is not good. This is not a political issue. It is a matter of public interest,” the bench observed and posted the matter for hearing on August 5.
The EPCA, in its report filed earlier in the apex court, has said that the total share of Delhi government in the three corridors of phase-IV of metro is around Rs 7,844.07 crore but the Delhi Cabinet in December 2018 approved only Rs 5,994.50 crore.
“Therefore, the difference in financial terms is at most Rs 1,800 crore, which constitutes some 7 per cent of the total project cost of these 3 key corridors,” the EPCA has said.
It said DDA has agreed to pay Rs 5,000 crore for the six corridors and “its contribution for the first three corridors could be increased to either partially or completely taking on the difference between the Delhi cabinet approved cost for the three corridors as against the final approved cost”.
The apex court had on July 12 ordered that phase-IV of the Delhi metro project, which is estimated to add around 18.6 lakh riders per day, be implemented forthwith and construction work for it be started.
Of the 103.94 km to be constructed under phase-IV, 37.01 km will be underground while around 66.92 km will be elevated. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 46,845 crore.
As per Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), its operational network is 343 km with current average daily ridership of nearly 28 lakh.
The EPCA report has said that phase-IV of the metro “will add significantly to the public transport infrastructure in the city. This combined with buses and last-mile connectivity (pedestrian and other facilities) would greatly improve the public transport network in the city and provide options for car-free travel”.
The issue of public transport has cropped up before the court as it is hearing a matter relating to air pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region.