Delhi Metro phase-IV project can't wait, will pass orders: SC
New Delhi: Stalemate between the Centre and the Delhi government over financial aspects of Delhi Metro's 104-km phase-IV came under the scanner of the Supreme Court which said on Monday that it would pass order in the matter as the "project cannot wait".
A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta was told by senior advocate Aparajita Singh, who is assisting the top court as an amicus curiae in pollution matter, that the project is "critical" and the pending issue should be resolved soon.
Singh referred to a recent report of Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) which said that the approval for "103.94 km phase IV of the Delhi metro has been held up since 2014, when the project was submitted to the Union government for its approval".
The report said: "There is a stalemate in the discussions between the Union Government and the Delhi government on different financial aspects of the project. The Delhi government has on April 10, 2019 communicated its direction that DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) would not start work of Delhi Metro phase-IV till these issues are resolved."
The amicus told the bench that issues which are not resolved are –bearing of the operational loss, repayment of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) loan in case of default, sharing of land cost and taxes.
Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that project financing has been done in consonance with the Metro Rail Policy of August 2017 and metro projects of other cities like Bhopal, Indore, Kanpur, Patna and Agra have been sanctioned on the same financial pattern as of Delhi metro phase-IV.
The bench asked Nadkarni about the past practice on liability of taxes among the Centre and states as well as regarding who bears the cost of land.
Nadkarni said he would take instructions on these aspects and get back to the court.
The bench posted the matter for hearing on July 12 and said, "You take instructions. We will pass order. This project cannot wait".
The EPCA, in its report filed in the court, has said that phase-IV of the Delhi Metro is "critical as it will add another 104 km to the network" and "it is designed to join the current network and will densify it and make the system more viable and attractive to commuters."
The bench also dealt with the issue of remote sensing technology which will help identify polluting vehicles in the national capital.
The amicus told the court that EPCA has suggested that remote sensing technology should be put in place as it would help check emission of particulate matter (PM) and other hazardous substances like nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx) from vehicles. She said that this technology was used successfully in Kolkata and an agency, which was asked by the apex court to check its modalities, has checked on around 1.76 lakh vehicles and found the technology to be useful.
The bench asked EPCA to apprise it about the modalities to implement the remote sensing technology. The bench also dealt with the issue of parking policy in Delhi.