New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): The Delhi Metro is called the lifeline of the National Capital Region (NCR) of India. At present, the operations of the Delhi Metro is closed due to the outbreak of Covid-19 (Corona Virus) in the country. According to the annual audit reports published by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRC), the Delhi Metro Rail project is running in a loss since its inception. In view of this, the Government is now planning to privatise the project on public-private participation (PPP) model and the entire Delhi MRTS may be given on lease to private players. The discussion has been started in this regard.
The Indian think tank NITI Aayog has prepared a plan and sent it to the government for review. According to the NITI Aayog, if the government implements the proposed plan, the DMRC can get monetary benefits from Rs 39,000 crore to Rs 80,000 crore. The government has to take a decision on how the suggestions were given by Aayog can be implemented. So far, approximately Rs 70,000 crores have been spent to complete the infrastructure of the Delhi Metro Rail project. If its network expands further, the government will also have to spend a hefty amount.
The NITI Aayog has also told the government that after leasing the metro, the amount will be received from which the loan taken will be repaid. "DMRC has incurred a total expenditure of Rs 70,433 crore for implementation of track infrastructure, procurement of Rolling Stock, and other activities towards operationalisation of Phase I, II, and III. This expenditure has been funded through Rs 36,525 crore of long-term debt raised from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) along with Rs 33,908 crore of equity/subordinate debt from GoI/GNCTD and grants from other states/Central Government institutions. Rs 17,365 crore out of the latter has been funded as equity by the Government of India and Govt. of National Capital Territory Delhi (50% each) while the balance quantum has been funded as non-interest bearing subordinate debt from GoI, GNCTDand monetary/non-monetary grant states/Central Government institutions. These include land permission by urban development authorities as DDA, HUDA, NOIDA etc.," said in the proposal drafted by NITI Aayog.
The NITI Aayog has prepared 3 lease models. Of these 3 models, one model is for 20 years, the second for 50 years, and the third for 99 years. There are track infrastructure and train under Model No.1 which can be leased to a private company for 20 years. In return, the government can earn huge money from passenger fares, parking, and advertisements on trains. The NITI Aayog believes that with this plan the government can get more than Rs 39,000 (Rs 39,236 crore). At the same time, if model number two is implemented, the commercial area of the stations and the right to commercial property can be given to the private company. These things can be given to a private company for 50 years. Under this model, the government will get around Rs 70,000 crore (Rs 69,996 crore). At the same time, the lease under model number 3 will be 99 years period. Under this, the government will also be able to take some share from the private company according to its profit. Under this, the government can have an income of more than Rs 80,000 crore (Rs 80,333 crore). However, at the moment it is only proposed. The final decision is to be taken by the Central Government.
If this proposal is approved, then the new Metro Rail Policy 2017 and Metro Railway (Operations & Maintenance) Act, 2002 may also need to be changed. A committee has also been formed to decide how much fare to be charged from the passenger. If the Delhi Metro is given on lease, then who will decide the fare? government or the private company, not yet disclosed. If the rights are given to a private company, then a change in the Metro Act will be required. If this experiment of the government is successful in Delhi, then the government can move in this direction for other metro projects also.