NEW DELHI (Metro Rail News): Delay between the Centre and the Delhi government over financial aspects of Delhi Metro’s 104-km phase-IV came under the scanner of the Supreme Court it said on Monday that it would pass the order in the matter as the “project cannot wait”.
A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta was told by senior advocate Aparajita Singh, who is assisting the top court as an amicus curiae in pollution matter, that the project is “critical” and the pending issue should be resolved soon.
Aparajita Singh referred to a recent report of Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) which said that the approval for “103.94 km phase IV of the Delhi Metro has been held up since 2014 when the project was submitted to the Union government for its approval”.
“There is a stalemate in the discussions between the Union Government and the Delhi government on different financial aspects of the project. The Delhi government has on April 10, 2019, communicated its direction that DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) would not start work of Delhi Metro phase-IV till these issues are resolved”, the report said.
The amicus told the bench that issues which are not resolved are — bearing of the operational loss, repayment of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) loan in case of default, sharing of land cost and taxes.
Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that project financing has been done in consonance with the Metro Rail Policy of August 2017 and metro projects of other cities like Bhopal, Indore, Kanpur, Patna, and Agra have been sanctioned on the same financial pattern as of Delhi metro phase-IV.
The bench asked Nadkarni about the past practice on the liability of taxes among the Centre and states as well as regarding who bears the cost of land.
Nadkarni said he would take instructions on these aspects and get back to the court.
The bench posted the matter for hearing on July 12 and said, “You take instructions. We will pass the order. This project cannot wait”.
The EPCA, in its report filed in the court, has said that phase-IV of the Delhi Metro is “critical as it will add another 104 km to the network” and “it is designed to join the current network and will densify it and make the system more viable and attractive to commuters.”