New Delhi: The Metro ushered in with the promise of changing the way Delhi travels, has reneged on that promise by constantly harping on decreasing profitability and repeatedly hiking the price of tickets and placing the metro beyond the reach of those who need cheap transport the most.
The metro has ridden roughly shod all across the city, caring little for students in Jamia University and disturbing the sleep of millions as its trains zip through the middle of the university and amidst thickly populated residential areas and all this because it chose to stay over the ground to save construction time and money.
These objections might be brushed aside as the cost that one has to pay for development, but how is it that those that remain untouched by this development pay the most for it while the sleep of those who benefit the most from this model of development is never disturbed. The metro gently goes underground as it approaches the sanctified arena of the VIP district, the place where the planners sleep, emerging at the other end while its pylons, air-conditioning, and exhaust ducts, steel and glass gates overshadow everything and obscure the sky on all sides of the charmed circle of the VIP district.
The metro is never going to be short of funds, not unless it slips on its delivery targets. The costs are being met through a loan from the government of Japan routed through Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), now known as the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). 60% of the costs for phase I, 54.47% of the costs for Phase II and 48.57% of the costs for phase III were financed through a soft loan incurring an annual interest rate of a little over 1.4 % to 2.3 % or thereabouts.
The balance was met through a 50:50 partnership between the Government of India and the Government of NCR Delhi. The DMRC was to mobilize about 7% of the total cost by developing the property. It would acquire land for developing such property through a government-provided subsidiary loan roughly equal to 5% of the cost of the project.
So, if the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) used the subsidiary loan amounting to 5% of the cost of the project to acquire land and developed it properly, it will have substantial savings from this one head alone after contributing its share of 7% to the common kitty. Even someone unable to go beyond simple addition will tell you that land when developed into malls, shops and kiosks is always a hugely profitable operation. At least for the builder and DMRC is the builder in this case.