Delhi Metro gears up for Phase-III

New Delhi: Delhi Metro Monday initiated the process of finalising the funding pattern of its ambitious Phase-III when it presented its proposal for the project that envisages adding another 104 km to the network to the Planning Commission.

The decision on the funding pattern, which has been a contentious issue, will take time as only premilinary details were discussed at today's meeting during which the Delhi Metro officials made a detailed presentation on Phase-III project.

With its Phase-II project coming nearly to an end, the Delhi Metro has already prepared detailed project reports for all six corridors proposed under the Phase-III plan and presented them before the country's top financial body.

Delhi Metro chief E Sreedharan and other senior officials attended the meeting and presented their case before the commission, which has to decide on the funding pattern.

While the Planning Commission wants the debt equity ratio to be increased to 50:50, sources said the Delhi Metro has expressed its reservations against such high equity investments by the Delhi and Central Governments.

Sources said Delhi Metro has proposed a debt equity ratio of 40:60 under which the two governments will contribute 20 per cent each and the rest to be raised by loans from agencies like Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

"It was a preliminary meeting with the Planning Commission. The presentation was made by our officials on the six corridors for which the DPR has been prepared. No decision was expected on Monday," sources in the Delhi Metro said.

Delhi Government gave its in-principle approval to the project in October and asked the DMRC to rework on three corridors so that ring road and areas like Jamia Nagar be connected through the Metro.

The DPR was prepared by the DMRC last month after which it has been decided to extend the Phase-III network to 105 km.

Sources said Delhi Metro officials gave indications that they will makes changes in the Central Secretariat-Red Fort Standard Gauge corridor so that heritage buildings are not affected.

"These are all minor problems. These can be sorted out and the DPR doesn't include all minute details...," the sources said.

The meeting also came a week after the JICA gave positive indications to extend financial assistance to the project.

JICA has funded the Phase-I and Phase-II of the Delhi Metro and is also funding other Metro projects in the country.

Phase-III is likely to be implemented at a cost of Rs 28,000 crore.

Delhi Government has been trying to get the Delhi DDA to partly fund Phase-III but the efforts are understood to have failed.

The Planning Commission was also of the view that DDA should partly fund Phase-III so that the debt equity ratio can be reduced to 50:50.