The metro expansion plan in the city has been delayed as the Palam Vihar-Dwarka Sector 21 project failed to get approval from the state government on Wednesday. RITES, which had prepared its detailed project report (DPR), has been asked to study the possibility and feasibility of shifting a 1.5km stretch of the route in Delhi underground and prepare a fresh DPR within 15 days.
Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday reviewed the DPR and gave the directions. Shifting the portion of the 8.4km corridor underground will increase the cost of the project and will also change its alignment. The distance of the route is also expected to be reduced.
The government is keen to shift a section of the route underground to avoid land acquisition hurdles, according to officials. Most of the route falls on green belts and on government land. In Delhi, a certain portion passes through private land. According to an official, the land acquisition will both delay the project and escalate the cost.
The project was expected to be jointly developed by the Haryana Mass Rapid Transport Corporation (HMRTC) and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). During the meeting, however, it was suggested that the Haryana government can complete the project on its own. So, the entire project is likely to be taken up by HMRTC.
On the financing side, it was discussed that under a central government scheme for just projects, the state government gets 20% of the fund from the Centre while 80% of funds should come from the state.
The process to get the 20% share of funds from the Centre, however, is lengthy and takes years. By the time the state gets the funds, the overall cost of the project increases, officials said.
“It was suggested that instead of taking 20% of the share from the Centre, the Haryana government can approach an international agency like the World Bank for a loan to complete the project. This is expected to reduce the time for execution of the project and the entire project will be owned by the state government,” a government official present in the meeting told TOI. Even if Haryana takes a loan from the World Bank, they need to take approval from the Centre, but the entire process can be completed in 7-8 months, whereas the process for 20% funds from the Centre takes around 3-4 years, the official said.
The main metro route of 28.5km from Huda City Center to Cyber City via Old Gurgaon is in the final stage of approval. The 8.4km Palam Vihar-Dwarka route has been proposed as Part-B of the main project with self-financing (no contribution from central government).
The chief minister said the construction of a metro line to connect Palam Vihar to sector 21 in Dwarka will benefit a large number of people from Delhi and Gurgaon. “Ridership of the route is expected to be high,” said Khattar.
The route will have two interchange stations. While Rezang La Chowk in Palam Vihar will have an interchange with the Huda City Centre-Cyber City corridor, Dwarka Sector 21, which will be separate from the existing DMRC station, will have an interchange with the Blue Line as well as the Airport Express corridor.
Source : TOI