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AAP, BJP spar in Delhi Assembly

AAP, BJP spar in Delhi Assembly

NEW DELHI: A day after the much-awaited Metro Phase-IV was approved by the Delhi government, the ruling AAP and the opposition BJP Thursday traded charges in the assembly over the delay in the project. Responding to a Vote of Thanks motion by ruling party to congratulate the Delhi government, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia slammed the BJP, alleging that the party created hurdles in the project. "Despite the BJP's conspiracy, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) dispensation cleared the Phase-IV of the Delhi Metro for the benefit of Delhiites," Sisodia said. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Vijender Gupta blamed the AAP government for delaying the project for three years.

The approval of the project, given at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday, comes around two-and-a-half years after it had given in-principle nod to the Phase-IV project, which is expected to be completed by 2024. On the recent Metro fare hike, Sisodia said the Delhi government will reduce metro fare by 25 to 30 per cent and alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party does not want the fares to come down.

Sisodia alleged "fictitious" calculation in estimates pointing cost of the Delhi Metro Phase-IV project, which was earlier Rs 57,000 crore and was scaled down to Rs 46,000 crore. "They (BJP) fight to take credit of the Metro Phase-IV, but we fight for the people of Delhi. Based on the fictitious calculation, they tried to stall Phase-IV of Metro by hatching a conspiracy," the minister said.

The Leader of Opposition questioned the ruling party for delaying the project for three years. "You are trying to misguide the people. After three years, what has changed that you cleared it now," he said amid interruptions of the ruling party legislators. Transport minister Kailash Gahlot also countered the opposition's allegations, saying there were several reasons that led to the project's delay. "We were in regular touch with the Centre over it. The files took rounds 4-5 times. Also, the goods and services tax (GST) was introduced that led to recalculations of the estimates," Gahlot told the House.

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