NEW DELHI (Metro Rail News): Work on the much stalled Delhi Metro Phase-IV is likely to commence soon as the central and Delhi governments have informed the Supreme Court that together they have released Rs 800 crore for three priority Mukundpur-Maujpur, R K Ashram-Janakpuri West and Aero CityTughlaqabad corridors.
The release of funds came nearly a month after the apex court on September 6 resolved the long-pending disagreement between the Centre and Delhi government over three major issues bearing operational losses, repayment of the loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA) in case of default or currency fluctuation costs and sharing of land cost.
On October 21, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta recorded in its order that “Rs 200 crore has been released by the government of India. The government of Delhi has also released Rs 600 crore.
The statements are taken on record”. The Delhi Cabinet had in December 2018 given approval for a total cost of Rs 5,994.5 crore for the three priority corridors. The other three corridors under Phase-IV project are RithalaBawana-Narela, Inderlok-Indraprastha, and Lajpat Nagar-Saket G Block.
Taking up the issue of dispute over sharing of operational losses, the bench accepted senior advocate Aparajita Singh’s argument on behalf of Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) that Delhi Metro Rail Corporation had not suffered any operational losses for the last five years and was not likely to suffer any losses in future.
The bench said, “We find nothing objectionable that in case the Metro suffers any loss, that is to be borne by the state government, as the Metro is the local conveyance within the state and considering the nature of the facilities, the loss, if any, should be borne by the state government. However, the state government has to ensure that its policies are such which do not cause any operational loss or otherwise due to the running of the metro trains.
Hence, we do not find any substance in the objection raised by the government of Delhi.” On repayment of JICA loan in case of default or currency fluctuation cost, the SC said as per the central policies for six states, the state government has to provide support to ensure financial sustainability. “So far the DMRC has not made any default in repayment of the loan.
We do not find anything objectionable in case the government of Delhi alone should bear the responsibility to provide support, if any, which may become necessary to repay the soft loan provided for the project.” “Delhi government is bound to ensure that financial health of DMRC is maintained properly and no steps are taken so that it may run into losses,” the bench had said.
After rejecting two of the Delhi government’s objections on Metro Phase-IV, the bench agreed with it that there should be 50:50 sharing of land acquisition cost with the Centre. The SC said, “We direct that out of the land cost of Rs 2447.10 crore, 50% shall be borne by the Delhi government and 50% by the Union of India.”