The Delhi Metro, which had set a target of Rs 2,505 crore to raise from property development in its Phase III properties, has been able to meet barely 18% of that amount so far, official documents show.
The matter emerged at successive board meetings of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), with officials expressing concern in June that the company “may not be able” to meet the target if the impediments, allegedly related to policies of the DDA, the land-owning agency, are not removed.
“During Phase III, the earnings required to be realised from property development was Rs 2,505 crore… Due to various impediments, the corporation has been able to earn only Rs 462 crore (approx) and accordingly, as on date, there is a shortfall of Rs 2,043 crore (approx),” a DMRC document states.
Among the two major corridors of Phase III, Magenta Line is fully operational, while portions of the Pink Line have been opened for commercial use. The major shortfall assumes significance against the backdrop of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s repeated insistence that Metro should diversify its revenue-earning channels to reduce dependence on fares.
The matter has also reached the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA). DMRC’s property development sub-committee also met DDA officials.
Officials, on condition of anonymity, attributed the shortfall to hostile market conditions and a host of other factors, including the DDA not allowing FAR (Floor Area Ratio) on a par with public for standalone plots of DMRC — despite the Master Plan of Delhi not putting any such restrictions.
“The DDA is counting the operation parts of stations, such as concourse, platforms, technical rooms, for the counting of FAR in case of DMRC, which leaves no space or scope for property development at the stations,” the official said.
The Transit Oriented Development (TOD) policy, which will enable construction of residential and commercial properties alongside Metro corridors, has also not been finalised, thus hampering Metro’s efforts, DMRC said. It also cited that it is not being exempted from paying additional FAR charges, and the “non-availability” of permission to it for residential property development.
When contacted, DDA V-C Udai Pratap Singh said the issues are addressed as and when they are brought to the agency’s notice.
Incidentally, the DMRC had taken up as many as five residential projects between 2004 and 2008. However, none have been completed for a slew of reasons, including “delay in getting approvals and dispute on land ownership”, among others, documents note.
However, this was not always the case. Metro had raised over Rs 700 crore in Phase I, exceeding its target. From Phase II, it could raise a little over Rs 200 crore, falling short of target.