Pollution body seeks Supreme Court help to resolve Delhi Metro Phase 4 deadlock

Sourav Roy Barman
Significantly, the EPCA has stated in its report that as per DMRC data, the corporation has not suffered any operating losses in the past five years and Phase IV is not likely to cause one.

The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority has sought the urgent intervention of the Supreme Court in resolving the deadlock between the Delhi government and the Centre, which is holding up Metro Phase IV project and enhancement of the city s bus fleet.

Submitting a special report in the apex court, the SC-mandated body said two out of four objections raised by the Delhi government on the Phase IV proposal are notional in nature. It has also suggested a roadmap to end the impasse.

The Phase IV project has been grounded since April this year after the Delhi government directed the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) not to start work until the Centre accepts two conditions: the Centre will share operating losses with the state, and the state government will not bear any liability of repayment of the loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

However, on June 6, the Centre ruled out any revision, saying that the project financing has been done in consonance with the Metro Rail Policy of August 2017.

Significantly, the EPCA has stated in its report that as per DMRC data, the corporation has not suffered any operating losses in the past five years and Phase IV is not likely to cause one.

On the question of repayment of JICA loan, in case of default or currency fluctuation, also flagged by the Delhi government, the EPCA has said there is no reason to believe that there will be a default in payment of the loans. The DMRC has never defaulted on the loan repayment and there is no reason to believe that with the additional phase, the situation will change. The loan for phase 4 has still not been secured…, the EPCA report states.

The DMRC has estimated that if the project takes off in consonance with the Centre s approval, the Delhi government will have to shell out Rs 1,386 crore more than its own estimate of Rs 5,994 crore. To resolve the impasse, EPCA has suggested that the contribution of DDA, which has agreed to pay Rs 5,000 crore for all the six proposed corridors, be increased.

On buses, EPCA said that at the current rate, the induction would not keep up with the requirement. A 2018 study by DIMTS found that the city requires 11,500 buses but has around 5,500.