With Its ambitious proposal to procure 582 coaches pending with the Delhi government for 17 months, the Delhi Metro has piped down its demand to 164 coaches so it can meet the growing demand with the launch of newer sections. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has written to the Delhi government as well as the Centre with a fresh proposal, The Indian Express has learnt. Both governments are equal shareholders in the corporation. DMRC director (business development) S D Sharma wrote to the city’s transport department on June 9 with the revised proposal, while adding that the Metro will incur the cost of procurement on its own through “external borrowings” and “internal accruals”.
Metro had submitted the original proposal to buy 582 coaches to the Delhi government on January 11, 2017. However, alarm bells started ringing after the recent launch of the Magenta Line and a section of the Pink Line, which started bringing more commuters. According to official documents, due to the delay on the part of the city government, the Metro initially pitched for immediate approval of 200 coaches out of the 582. Subsequently, it brought down the demand further to 164 coaches, stating that the other 36 will be bought through a separate bidding process.
“As approval of the DPR (Detailed Project Report) for procurement of 582 cars was taking time and traffic was continuously increasing on sections constructed in Phase I, Phase II due to commissioning of Phase III sections, a proposal for procurement of 200 cars, as variation to Phase II project, was submitted to Delhi government as well as Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for their approval,” Sharma wrote.
“The funding has been proposed from external borrowing and internal accruals of DMRC with no financial burden on either Delhi government or Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. With the above backgroud, it is requested that approval of Delhi government for procurement of additional 164 coaches as variation to Phase III project may please be communicated to this office,” Sharma wrote.
The Delhi government maintains that the introduction of the GST made the proposition to buy new coaches difficult as under the new arrangements, it will have to shell out more money as compared to the Centre. However, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot say the clearance will be given soon.
According to DMRC data, 244 trains currently operate on its 277-km network. The total number of coaches being used are 1,654. Asked about the shortfall, a DMRC official said that after the completion of Phase III, the traffic will increase on lines built under Phase I and Phase II projects.
On its plans to press more coaches into service, DMRC said: “It is under consideration of the government. However, as this is a dynamic process, necessary action is being taken as per the requirement.” Even the proposal to buy 582 coaches was arrived at following revisions.
In 2016, the DMRC board had approved a proposal to procure 916 coaches and a related proposal was submitted to the Delhi government and the Centre on October 23, 2016. However, as 334 coaches were under the DPR of the proposed Phase IV project, a decision was taken to go for 582 coaches.