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ECC money can be used for funding Delhi's 1st year share in RRTS corridor: EPCA to SC

ECC money can be used for funding Delhis 1st year share in RRTS corridor: EPCA to SC

NEW DELHI: EPCA told the Supreme Court Monday that money from Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) could be used for funding the Delhi government's first year share in the RRTS corridor project between Delhi, Ghaziabad and Meerut. The Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) is a project of "national importance" and it should not be delayed as it would escalate the cost, EPCA said. The estimated project cost of the 82.15 km corridor is Rs 31,632 crore and since the Delhi government has said they do not have adequate finances to meet the cost of its share of Rs 1,138 crore, funds from the ECC could be used for it, said the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA). A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta was told by advocate Aparajita Singh, assisting the court as amicus curiae in the pollution matter, that Rs 1,106 crore was available in the ECC.

"The first year cost of Delhi government would be Rs 265 crore. EPCA do not want any delay in the project as it would escalate the cost. In ECC, they have around Rs 1,100 crore. Let first year fund (of Delhi government) go from the ECC. This is a project of national importance," Singh told the bench. The counsel appearing for Delhi government said they have granted in-principle approval to the RRTS project but they have issue with regard to funds.

"In-principle, the Delhi government is agreed. So far as funding is concerned, I will seek instructions. Give me one week time," the lawyer told the bench. The bench has posted the matter for further hearing on February 11. Of the 82.15 kilometre long corridor, Delhi will have a 13 kilometre section with stations at Sarai Kale Khan, New Ashok Nagar and Anand Vihar. During the hearing, the amicus said that in pursuance to the apex court's direction, EPCA had convened a meeting of concerned stakeholders on January 25 to discuss the issues.

"Delhi government had objections on two issues. The first is about a change of station from underground to elevated at Sarai Kale Khan and the other was about funds. The elevated station at Sarai Kale Khan helps them (Delhi government) also. The only issue is funding. Delhi government says that Union of India should fund their share," Singh told the court. The EPCA, in its report filed in the court, said that Delhi government has accepted the change in plan to construct the elevated station in its letter addressed to the authority.

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