Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Managing Director Mangu Singh said running the metro at the current low capacity is not financially viable, but services have been resumed for the benefit of the people and to rekindle economic activity.
Singh said the metro will not be able to accommodate more than 12-15 lakh people daily as against the pre-Covid figures of 60 lakh. "Even if 12 lakh people come, it will still not be financially viable. We will become financially viable only if it reaches 60 lakh. Anything less than that is not financially viable," he said.
Singh, however, added: "We are not thinking about the viability or financial aspect at this time. Reopening of operations is not only for the financial viability but for the service and engaging in the economic activity."
The Delhi Metro, the lifeline of the city and the National Capital Region, resumed its services on September 7 in a graded manner. During the shutdown, it incurred a revenue loss of over Rs 1,500 crore, about Rs 10 crore per day on an average.
Besides this, the DMRC had also received loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Although the DMRC is responsible for repayment of loan, it had been taken from JICA by the Central government, whom the DMRC repays.
"Right now, we have only asked for the deferment of the repayment of the loan from the Central government, since the loan repayment is to be done to them only. We have written to them. This is still under discussion as to how it can be done,"said Singh.
Alluding to the financial crunch, he said no request has yet been made to the government to seek support. "We are still not clear how much will be the deficit, what will be the traffic now and how much we will be able to recover in the six months or so. Maybe in a month or two, there will be a clear picture."
The central government resumed metro service at a time when the capital city is reportedly witnessing a second wave of the viral infection. Even though the government has, time and again, asserted that both lives and livelihood are important, several epidemiologists believe the resumption will increase the infection in the city.
However, Singh downplayed these fears.
"Studies have been done abroad to establish that public transport does not result in spread of infection. Metros have been plying in many countries. We believe that our system will not contribute to the infection," he said.