The Supreme Court on Friday directed the central government and the government of Delhi to divide equally between them the cost of land for the phase four of Delhi Metro, and said that both should release the money within three weeks from today. A two judge Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta, while directing the authorities to ensure that no delay is caused, said that the total cost of Rs 2,447.19 crore must be released forthwith.
The two-Judge Bench also said that any operational losses in the 104 km long fourth phase project would be borne by the Delhi government, observing that financial health of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) was the task of the state as it was the mode of conveyance in the national capital.
“The GNCTD (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi) is bound to ensure that financial health of DMRC is maintained properly and no steps are taken so that it may run into loss," the bench said.
According to the plan, the fourth phase of Delhi Metro will have six different corridors, which include connecting lines between Aerocity and Tughlakabad, Inderlok and Indraprastha, Lajpat Nagar and Saket, Mukundpur and Maujpur, Janakpuri West and R K Ashram as well as Rithala to Bawana and Narela. The latest phase of Delhi metro is expected to add nearly 18.6 lakh riders per day, in addition to the average ridership of 28 lakh riders per day currently.
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.
During the hearing, the apex court also slammed the Delhi government’s proposal to give free rides to women, and said that giving such ‘freebies’ and ‘sops’ could result to losses for the DMRC.
“If you will allow people to travel for free, then the Delhi metro may go into loss. If you will give freebies, we will stop you. You are fighting for a cause here and you want them to incur loss. Do not give sops, it is public money,” the two-judge Bench told the counsel appearing for the state.
The court also warned that if the Delhi government did not refrain from giving freebies from "public money", it would cancel the plan. “Why you want to destroy the Delhi metro? Can you give sops and say that Union of India should bear the cost? What you handle is public money…don’t think that courts are powerless,” the two-Judge Bench said.
(With inputs from PTI)