NEW DELHI (Metro Rail & Steel): The Supreme Court reprimanded the Delhi government for its delayed contribution towards the Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) project. Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia, presiding over the matter, expressed their disappointment as the promised funds for the project remained unpaid despite earlier assurances made by the Delhi government’s counsel.
The apex court recalled the counsel’s commitment on July 24 to transfer the funds to the RRTS project. Observing the government’s inaction, the bench declared that funds designated for advertising purposes would now be diverted to the project. However, offering a brief reprieve, the court postponed the enforcement of this directive for a week, granting the Delhi government a final opportunity to fulfill its commitment. The bench emphasized that failure to transfer the funds within this period would result in immediate execution of the order.
Previously, the court had reprimanded the Delhi government for its reluctance to allocate Rs 415 crore, as directed, towards the two RRTS corridors connecting Alwar and Panipat. Despite repeated directives, the government failed to honor its commitment, leading to the current intervention by the apex court. The court’s dissatisfaction was apparent as the Delhi government did not present itself in court to request an extension for the payment deadline. Justices Kaul and Dhulia underscored that the government cannot take the court for granted, insisting on accountability and compliance with court directives.
Earlier objections raised by the Delhi government cited financial constraints, expressing an inability to contribute to the RRTS project. In response, the court had demanded a record of funds allocated for advertisements in the last three years, revealing a staggering expenditure of Rs 1,100 crore during that period. The RRTS project, overseen by the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), is a collaborative effort between the Center and the states involved. While the Delhi-Meerut corridor has seen progress with the Kejriwal government’s cooperation, disputes arose concerning the remaining stretches due to funding issues.
The court had earlier instructed the Delhi government to contribute Rs 500 crore from the Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) towards the Delhi-Meerut corridor. However, disagreements persisted regarding the Delhi-Shahjahanpur-Neemrana-Behror and Delhi-Panipat corridors, with the Delhi government’s reluctance to provide financial support. With an estimated cost of Rs 31,632 crore, the 82.15-km RRTS corridor aims to connect Sarai Kale Khan in Delhi to Modipuram, Meerut, covering the distance in just 60 minutes. As discussions continue, the court’s insistence on prompt action and financial commitment from the Delhi government underscores the project’s critical significance and the imperative need for timely contributions.