The Delhi Metro does not have any mechanism to separately calculate operational losses or profits of its lines built in different phases, according to official documents. The Centre had recently questioned the AAP government’s condition on equal sharing of Phase IV operational losses, putting the future of the new lines — a large chunk of which will connect outer Delhi to the Metro network — in question again.
The finance department of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has also conveyed to the Delhi government that the revised Detailed Project Report (DPR) of Phase IV does not foresee any operating losses for its entire operational period starting from 2024-25. The Delhi government had earlier said that two corridors of the new phase were financially unviable and would result in losses.
After a prolonged delay, the government last month cleared the Rs 46,845-crore Phase IV project, under which six new corridors measuring 104 km will be built. But Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri indicated that the Centre was not comfortable with two new conditions that the Delhi government imposed. It said that the state and the Centre should share the operational losses 50-50 and also that the liability of external loans be shared. Puri had called it a “hurdle” put by the AAP, as part of a “behavioural pattern”.
However, three days before the Delhi Cabinet cleared the Phase-IV proposal, the DMRC’s finance department wrote to the Delhi Transport Department saying: “It is clarified that there is no mechanism to calculate operational profit/loss phase wise. This is calculated for the entire network as a whole.”
“In the revised DPR of Phase IV, no operating losses have been envisaged for the entire operational period from its commissioning in 2024-25,” it further added. Since it commenced operations in 2002, DMRC has not registered any operational loss so far. As per the 2017-18 annual accounts audit, the corporation had an operating surplus of Rs 938.92 crore.
“The DMRC letter to us makes it clear that they are not even sure about the method of calculating losses, if at all it occurs in the future. They do not want to share losses, but first they should be clear about how to calculate it… Just because Delhi will bear entire operational losses of Phase III does not mean we will do so for Phase IV also,” Delhi government sources claimed.
Metro’s admission that operational losses cannot be calculated separately also calls into question the conditions that are part of its Phase I, Phase II and Phase III projects. The Centre and Delhi government are mandated to share operational losses of Phase I and Phase II in equal parts, while the Delhi government is supposed to bear the entire operational losses that Phase III may register.
Under Phase I, 65 km of metro’s Red, Yellow and Blue Lines had come up; 124.90 km of Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Violet and Orange Lines in Phase II and 167 km of Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Violet, Pink, Magenta, Gray and Orange Lines in Phase III, which is not yet completely operational.