Airport Metro spat: Kamal Nath says govt will find a better PPP model

Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath dismissed doubts over the Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects saying that the model would still be effective in Metro projects

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: July 2, 2013 2:01 am

A day after Reliance Infra pulled out from the Airport Metro line,Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath dismissed doubts over the Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects saying that the model would still be effective in Metro projects.

“We will appoint consultants to find the best model for Metro projects. PPP has been successful in our country. It is not that PPP models are bad. There are various types and it is not that one size fits all,” Nath said during NCR Planning Board meeting on Monday.

DMRC took the operation of the Airport line on Monday after

R-Infra-led DAMEPL put in an agreement termination notice on Friday,blaming DMRC’s “persistent” failure to cure defects in the civil structure for the termination.

Questioned about the future of the Airport Metro,Nath said that it was a “contractual matter and was being examined legally”.

“The Airport line is being operated by the DMRC so that there is no inconvenience to people. Reliance said that they could not operate the line because there was not enough ridership. The ridership is only 5,000,’’ Nath said,while skirting the issue of the Rs 2,000 crore debt.

He said that capital expenditure incurred by Reliance through debt and equity would also be taken into consideration. The total ridership of the Airport express line during the peak of its operations was recorded at 21,000 per day. The line was shut down last July over problems in the civil structure,which were later rectified. It resumed operations in January this year. Since then,its ridership has been recorded about 11,000 per day on average.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit also said the issue of debt would need to be settled legally. “The settlements will need to be studied. DMRC is operating the line as the UD Ministry did not want people to suffer,” she said. Secretary of Urban Development maintained that UD Ministry had not accepted R-Infra’s withdrawl notice. “DMRC is operating the line on adhoc basis. We have not taken over any legal liability,” the Secretary said.

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