Urban Development Ministry launched major initiatives in 2013

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 30 2013, 22:34pm hrs
Delhi Airport LinkCAG also questioned the PPP model of Delhi's airport metro link in its report tabled in the Parliament. AP
2013 saw the Urban Development Ministry launching major initiatives in urban transport and other areas besides the collapse of the country's first-ever public private partnership in the metro sector - the Delhi Airport link.

The most prominent among the new initiatives was creation of a National Capital Region Transport Corporation that would set up three Regional Rapid Transit System corridors to link Delhi with towns of Alwar, Meerut and Panipat.

As the year begin, the UD ministry was still trying to ensure that the high-profile Airport Metro line, which had stopped operations after developing faults, resumes once again.

On January 22, the line began functional but a few months later in June the partnership between Reliance Infra and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) broke down after the former refused to run it. The UD ministry intervened and DMRC took over the line.

However, the knotty issue related to payment of the Airport line debt continues to remain unresolved and the Urban Development ministry has approached the Group of Ministers on Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) in search of a solution.

The ministry also had to form another committee to affix the blame for the shutdown of services on the line, after a two-member inquiry committee set up by it submitted its report.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) also questioned the PPP model of Delhi's airport metro link in its report tabled in the Parliament. In its report, the auditor claimed key guidelines were flouted in implementation of the project and accused DMRC of not doing enough to protect financial interests.

If troubles over the airport line were not enough, the UD ministry had to form another committee in the wake of allegations levelled by some bidders that tender process followed by DMRC was arbitrary.

While the UD ministry was busy trying to clear the messy issues related to the Airport line, work continued on Metro projects in cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata and Mumbai in 2013.