On December 29, 2014, North West Delhi MP Udit Raj conducted a “foundation stone” laying ceremony on a barren patch of land along a busy railway track at Siraspur, heralding the arrival of “Metro network” in the village.
Over four years later, on Saturday, a bunch of children chased a calf at the spot, now overrun by shrub. The elderly appeared less enthused and turned grim when asked about the Metro station.
“MP ji keh rahe the shilanyas kar rahe hai station ka (the MP was saying that he is laying the foundation stone of the station),” said Vijay Singh Rana, a villager.
Responding to an RTI application, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said it has not carried out any such ceremony at Siraspur, a Jat-dominated village, till date.
Official documents accessed by The Indian Express show that in December 2014, when the BJP MP organised the event, the project had no approval from either the Union government or the Delhi government — equal partners in the DMRC.
Raj told The Indian Express that not only had the project been approved by the DMRC by then, but “even Metro engineers were present at the function”. However, he refused to call it a foundation stone laying ceremony, saying it was more like a “bhoomi pujan”.
However, the plaque, which has since disappeared, had the term ‘shilanyas’ (foundation stone) and ‘DMRC’ inscribed on it. The proposed line in question is a 1.06-km extension of the Yellow Line from its terminal station Samaypur Badli. The Urban Development Ministry had granted in-principle approval to the line on October 8, 2014 while Delhi government accorded ‘in-principle’ approval to it on November 21, 2018.
Till date, no financial commitment has been made by the Delhi government, nor has DMRC conducted any foundation stone laying ceremony, the corporation said in an RTI response to Harpal Singh Rana, a resident of the neighbouring Kadipur village.
As per the RTI response, the DMRC and Delhi government conducted a joint inspection of the spot on January 27, 2016 and found around 6,000 people will use the proposed station daily. On April 15, Harpal Rana lodged a complaint over the issue with the newly appointed Lokpal.
“Currently, people of Siraspur and adjoining villages like Jeevan Park, Heera Colony have to travel about 3 km to reach the nearest Metro station. And the village has no bus service either. People are dependent on private vehicles and e-rickshaws, which are irregular,” Siraspur resident Satish Rana (49), an advocate at the Rohini court, said. The joint inspection report also carries similar observations.
As per records of the Delhi Transport Corporation, the village fell off the city’s transport map in 2007 and since then DTC wheels have not reached the village as “its roads are not suitable for low -floor buses”. Bus routes 187 and 195 used to connect the village with Central Delhi.
“I had promised to get an underpass and a Metro station made. The underpass is functional, but the other proposal is languishing. What I organised then cannot be called foundation stone laying, it was more of a bhoomi pujan. I had promised the villagers during the 2014 poll campaign that I will get their work done,” Raj said.
Villagers Azad Singh and Vijender said they have been demanding an underpass below the existing Indian Railways track that cuts through the village due to frequent accidents at the crossing. “One underpass has been made below the upcoming Metro depot but we forced the Metro to build that. The main underpass continues to elude us,” said Zille Singh, a farmer.