Facing public criticism, the Aam Aadmi Party government today decided to scrap the controversial Bus Rapid Transit corridor in South Delhi built by the previous Sheila Dikshit dispensation for around Rs 150 crore to encourage public transport.
“The BRT corridor will be scrapped considering public demand and the kind of accidents that have happened in the past. Cabinet has given in principle nod for its scrapping,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told reporters.
He said though the Delhi BRT model “failed” but it was necessary to regulate traffic and strengthen public transport.
“There are successful BRT models across the world. Our Delhi BRT model failed. To strengthen public transport, BRT is needed,” he said without elaborating whether the AAP government will replicate such “successful models.”
Asked how the BRT corridor will be dismantled, Sisodia said transport department will be directed to prepare a report on it.
The decision to dismantle the 14.5 km-long corridor between Ambedkar Nagar and Delhi Gate was taken at a Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
In 2012, the Congress government had decided to construct 14 such corridors but the projects were put on hold in 2013 following a court case and controversy related to the existing stretch.
The Transport Department had later proposed five BRT corridors – Karawal Nagar to Mori Gate, Gazipur to National Stadium, Badarpur to IGI Airport, Dilshad Garden to Tikri Border and Bhopura Border to Janakpuri District Centre.
Transport department officials said these proposed corridors will be built with new design and technology.
The existing BRT corridor faced severe criticism since its inception in 2008 but then Chief Minister Dikshit had strongly defending the project.
The BJP had also demanded scrapping of the BRT corridor and it promised to dismantle it in its vision document for the Delhi assembly polls earlier this year.
The corridor was constructed by Delhi Integrated Multi- Modal Transit System (DIMMTS), a joint-venture company set up by Delhi government and Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation.
In a report in 2013, the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) had favoured dismantling the corridor. The CRRI had found that speed of the vehicles was considerably lower on the BRT stretch than other stretches.
While the Congress refused to comment on the development, Delhi BJP leader Vijender Gupta sought an inquiry into the “funds wasted” in the controversial project.
“Scrapping the BRT corridor is not the solution. Did they consult people before taking such a decision? Crores of rupees were spent on this project. I demand that an inquiry be ordered into the wastage of public money in the project,” Gupta said.
Former Transport Minister and AAP’s Delhi Secretary Saurabh Bhardwaj welcomed the move, saying the design of the BRT corridor was “wrong”.
“It had a faulty design that was troubling the people,” he said.