The Urban Development ministry has asked the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to consider extending the airport metro corridor to IFFCO chowk in Gurgaon so that the ridership as well as property development revenue of the line can be boosted.
The DMRC had moved a proposal seeking grant or equity from central and Delhi governments for the airport metro line after taking charge from private company Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL) but the Ministry said that it should be the last resort and asked DMRC explore ways to raise funds and turn profitable.
Among the possible measures it suggested was extension of the line to Gurgaon’s Sector 29,which had earlier been floated when DAMEPL was incharge.
After DAMEPL pulled out,the DMRC began operating the service but issues related to the estimated Rs 2,000 crore airport metro line debt remains unresolved and the day to day running of trains on the route is also reported to be a loss making venture,sources said.
“The ministry has told the DMRC that the option of seeking grant or equity from the government should be considered only as the last resort. It has asked the Delhi Metro to look for other ways raise money and also see if the airport line can turn profitable if extended to Gurgaon,” a source said.
The sources said that a proposal to extend the Airport metro line to IFFCO chowk was floated in the past but there were issues regarding how additional concession could be given to a private concessionaire.
“The ministry has suggested that in the changed scenario,where the DMRC itself is operating the Airport metro line,it can be extended to the IFFCO chowk,which may result in a sharp jum in ridership as well as property development revenue,” the source said.
The ministry has also told the Delhi metro that it should try and make the line viable by exploring other option. They said that in a letter the ministry has also told DMRC that to meet the cash requirements for the airport line,it should tap its internal resources or financial markets or institutions.
Being a government owned company with an excellent track record,the DMRC might be able to raise a loan at a cheaper rate than the private company that was earlier operating the line,the ministry has opined. The ministry has also suggested that the DMRC should explore the possibility of raising money for the airport line through bonds as has been done by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL).