The proposed 28-km Gurgaon Metro is likely to result in huge losses and be financially non-viable, primarily because of “exaggerated daily ridership figures” projected in the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) purportedly to seek hefty bank credits, documents show.
The Gurugram Metro (HUDA City Centre – Subhash Chowk – Palam Vihar – Sector 22 – Cyber City with a spur to Dwarka Expressway) is estimated to come up at a cost Rs 6,821 crore, with the Council of Ministers led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar approving the DPR in August. As per the report, the daily ridership figure is projected to be 5.34 lakh by 2025; 7.26 lakh by 2031; and 8.81 lakh by 2041.
Highlighting the purportedly exaggerated daily ridership figures, and operational losses already being incurred to run India’s first fully privately financed 11.7-km Rapid Metro line, senior Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka has written to the CM requesting a probe.
Built by IL&FS Infrastructure, Rapid Metro was on the brink of closure in September 2019 due to a financial crunch before the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, on the Haryana government’s request, took over in October 2019. As per documents accessed by The Indian Express, average actual daily ridership of the Rapid Metro — operated by Rapid MetroRail Gurgaon Limited (RMGL) and Rapid MetroRail Gurgaon South Limited (RMGSL) between October 23, 2019 and March 21, 2020 — was approximately 50,000. From March-end, due to Covid restrictions, services were suspended before they resumed in a graded manner post September 7.
In the Rapid Metro Line DPRs prepared for obtaining bank credit, a daily ridership figure of 3.72 lakh was projected for RMGL and 2.67 lakh for RMGSL by 2020 — 10-12 times higher than the actual figure.
Calling it “a quintessential crony capitalist public loss, private gain model of business”, Khemka said ridership figures for Gurgaon Metro also “seem highly improbable”. Khemka also demanded that ridership figures projected in Gurgaon Metro DPR be verified.
The Indian Express sent queries to DS Dhesi, Chief Principal Secretary to Chief Minister; Vijai Vardhan, chief secretary and chairman of Haryana Mass Rapid Transport Corporation, but did not receive a response. The Indian Express also contacted Vinay Singh, Managing Director, HMRTC, who said “he would not have much details about the Gurgaon Rapid project” as he was “new to the assignment”. Nadeem Akhtar, Advisor Planning, HMRTC, too did not respond to calls and messages.
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