The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi approved the fourth phase of the Delhi Metro in a Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday. The chief minister said that it would boost the public transport and reduce pollution in the national capital. The Delhi government has also decided to construct elevated roads under three Metro corridors -- Rithala-Bawana-Narela, Janakpuri West-RK Ashram and Mukundpur-Maujpur -- of the total six under the 103-km-long Phase IV. The Cabinet gave a nod to the much-anticipated Phase IV corridor around two-and-a-half years after it had given the in-principle nod. The project is expected to be completed by 2024.
Among the projects chosen under Phase IV are: Rithala-Bawana-Narela (21.73 km, elavated), Janakpuri West-RK Ashram (28.92 km, 21.18-km elevated ), Mukundpur-Maujpur (12.54 km, elevated), Inderlok-Indraprastha (12.58 km, underground), Aero City-Tughlakabad (20.2 km, 5.58-km elevated), Lajpat Nagar-Saket G Block (7.96 km, 5.89-km elevated).
While briefing the media on these developments, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the AAP government would give its share of Rs 9,707 crore towards the construction work under the project, which is estimated to cost around Rs 45,000 crore. The operating losses, if any, would be shared between the government and the Centre at a ratio of 50:50 for the project. The deputy chief minister also blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the government officers for the delay. He said that the proposal was passed “despite the best efforts of BJP to create hurdles through officers by making them write adverse comments on files and through rumour mongering”.
“Officials were made to write adverse comments, such as on the financial viability, on files so that the matter becomes contentious. The Centre tried to stop our mohalla clinics, doorstep delivery projects, but just like we got these two projects passed, Phase IV has also been passed now,” he said as quoted by the Indian Express. The finance department of the Delhi government had said in 2015 that the project is not financially viable. The department again reviewed the project earlier this year and found three of the corridors financially inviable.
Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter and said that after the "revolutionary changes" in education, health, water and electricity, there would be changes in transport at a major scale. The chief minister added that he has a dream of seeing Delhi being counted among the select cities of the world, and every citizen, be it rich or poor, would feel proud of it.
The Phase-IV project had become a bone of contention between the AAP government and the BJP-led Union government as the former did not give its final nod to the project, even after its in-principle approval to the same in February 2016.