New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): In a significant development, the Delhi government's Transport Department has expedited the release of ₹415 crore to the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) for the Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) project. This action comes in response to the Supreme Court's recent intervention, emphasizing the urgency of meeting the court-mandated deadline of November 28.
The apex court, on Tuesday, issued a directive to the Delhi government's Transport Department, instructing the transfer of its advertisement budget to the NCRTC for the current year. This move was intended to ensure the State's contribution to the RRTS project. However, the court temporarily held the order in abeyance for a week.
Despite prior court directions and assurances from the State government in a July 24 hearing, the required funds had not been transferred, prompting the court's intervention. Justice Kaul, addressing senior advocate Meenakshi Arora representing the Delhi government, emphasized, "You did not even come and seek an extension of time... You cannot take this court for granted."
The RRTS project, designed as a mass transit network linking Delhi, Ghaziabad, and Meerut, has a budgetary provision of ₹1,100 crore spanning three years, with ₹550 crore allocated for the current year.
Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot announced on Friday that the Delhi government has disbursed ₹415 crore to the NCRTC for the RRTS project. Earlier in the week, the Supreme Court had reprimanded the Delhi government for the delay in providing funds for the Regional Rapid Transit System corridors to Alwar and Panipat. The court had warned that if the dues were not paid within a week, the funds earmarked by the AAP government for advertisements would be redirected to the RRTS project.
"The payment of Rs 415 crore has been made to the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) by the transport department today," stated Gahlot.
Notably, this disbursement follows the release of the first tranche of funds, approximately Rs 80 crore, a few months ago. The RRTS project involves the construction of semi-high-speed rail corridors connecting Delhi to Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, Alwar in Rajasthan, and Panipat in Haryana. While the apex court acknowledged the budgetary constraints cited by the city government, it warned that if national projects were to be compromised due to spending on advertisements, it would not hesitate to redirect those funds to the RRTS project.
The swift action by the Delhi government, spurred by the Supreme Court's intervention, has ensured the timely release of crucial funds for the RRTS project. This resolution underscores the significance of prioritizing essential infrastructure projects for the benefit of the region.