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AAP govt accuses Centre of 'stepmotherly treatment'

AAP govt accuses Centre of stepmotherly treatment

NEW DELHI: The AAP dispensation Saturday accused the Centre of meting out "stepmotherly treatment" to Delhi in the Budget, claiming that the Narendra Modi government has made "no provision" for the metro's Ph-IV project.

Addressing a Press conference here, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said AAP MPs will raise this issue in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, in what could trigger a fresh tussle between the Centre and the Arvind Kejriwal-led government. There was no immediate reaction from the Union government.

"Lot of noise was earlier made by the ministry (Housing and Urban Affairs) about the Delhi Metro Phase-IV project, but when we saw the Budget, it was a surprise for us. The Phase-IV work, which needed funds, has been neglected in it," Sisodia alleged.

The Delhi Metro has been given a grant of Rs 414.70 crore in the Budget 2019-20 as against Rs 50 crore in the last fiscal. Finance Minister Piyush Goyal shared the details while presenting the Interim Budget in Parliament.

According to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) sources, the grant has been given for work on Nodia and Ghaziabad sections of the network.

"Delhi Metro Ph-IV needed budgetary provision but the Centre has forgotten to do it... Earlier they (Centre) had even said that if Delhi government wouldn't do it, the Centre itself would do it. What happened to to all the claims," Sisodia asked.

The deputy chief minister also alleged that the Modi government had "meted out "stepmotherly treatment to Delhi in the Budget". "They have done it in giving financial assistance, and now they have done it in Ph-IV too, they have forgotten about it," he claimed.

The Union government sources last month had claimed that the AAP dispensation had "stonewalled" the progress of the Delhi's Metro's Phase-IV project, leading to "substantial delay" and inconvenience to people.

The fresh accusation had come amid an apparent tussle between the Centre and the Delhi government after Kejriwal imposed a condition of 50-50 per cent operational loss sharing while giving approval to the Phase-IV of the metro network late December.

"Phase-IV is an important issue, and while going through its files, we had found shortcomings in technical and financial feasibilities.

"And, an extra Rs 10,000 crore was estimated in its cost," Sisodia told reporters, claiming that "Rs 10,000 cr was reduced" in its overall estimated cost after a Delhi government study.

He alleged that the Centre runs the metro, decides the fares, and then "does 'dadagiri' (dictates terms)".

"Metro is not a leisure, it is a necessity, and we have telling them to reduce fares. They did not, and it led to fall in ridership... If you keep fares, how will the common man and people at the bottom of the rung in society afford it," he said.

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