NEW DELHI :
The Supreme Court on Friday ordered commencement of construction work on the Delhi metro's fourth phase, which is over 100 km long and is estimated to add around 18.6 lakh riders per day, after the Delhi government said it has agreed to give the go-ahead to the project.
The phase-IV of Delhi metro will consist of six corridors -- Aerocity to Tughlakabad, Inderlok to Indraprastha, Lajpat Nagar to Saket G Block, Mukundpur to Maujpur, Janakpuri West to R K Ashram and Rithala to Bawana and Narela.
Of the 103.94 km to be constructed, 37.01 km will be underground while around 66.92 km will be elevated. The estimated cost of the project is ₹46,845 crore.
As per Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), its operational network is 343 km with current average daily ridership of nearly 28 lakh.
The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), which recently filed a report in the apex court, has said that phase-IV of the metro "will add significantly to the public transport infrastructure in the city. This combined with buses and last-mile connectivity (pedestrian and other facilities) would greatly improve the public transport network in the city and provide options for car-free travel".
The EPCA report also said that the phase-IV is projected to add "some 18.6 lakh riders per day".
A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta was informed by senior advocate Aparajita Singh, assisting the top court as an amicus curiae in pollution matter, that the Delhi government has agreed to give the go-ahead to phase-IV of the metro.
The counsel appearing for Delhi government said however that issues regarding sharing of land cost and taxes still remain.
Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, said that financial pattern, similar to what was followed in earlier phases of the metro, was there for phase-IV.
He said the same pattern was followed for metro projects in other cities like Bhopal, Indore, Kanpur, Patna and Agra.
The apex court, while directing that fourth phase be implemented, said that issues concerning sharing of land cost and taxes between the Centre and Delhi government would be heard by it on July 19.
The bench directed the authorities concerned to start the construction.
On July 8, the apex court had took note of the issues between the Centre and Delhi government over certain financial aspects of the metro phase-IV and had said it would pass order in the matter as the "project cannot wait".
The amicus had told the bench that as per the EPCA's report, the phase-IV project is "critical" and the pending issue should be resolved soon.
The amicus had referred to the EPCA report 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 had 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.
The issue regarding public transport had cropped up before the court when it was hearing a matter relating to air pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region.