With work beginning on Phase III of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, the Central Government has decided to expand the metro network further, and DMRC has already been directed to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for Phase IV, which is likely to add another 104 km to the metro network, Union Minister for Urban Development Kamal Nath said here on Thursday.

Mr. Nath was speaking at a press conference to discuss metro rail projects in India. “With urbanisation in India increasing rapidly, especially in cities like Delhi, there is an urgent need to cater to the mobility of people much more, and an environmentally-safe public transport system like the Delhi Metro has top priority,” he said.

Phase III of the DMRC will be built at a cost of Rs. 35,242 crore, adding another 103 km to the existing metro network in Delhi. Calling it the “largest infrastructure project ever sanctioned in the country,” Mr. Nath said Government is also considering DPRs for extension of the proposed Phase III.

The new routes under consideration include 5.5 km between Dwarka and Najafgarh (Rs. 1,070 crore), 2.7 km between Yamuna Vihar and Shiv Vihar (Rs. 170 crore) and another 11.5 km between Mundka and Bahadurgarh at a cost of Rs. 1,990 crore.

The tentative corridors for the proposed Phase IV include Yamuna Bank to Loni Border (11.97 km), Janakpuri West to Mukundpur (18.74 km), Mukundpur to Dilshad Garden (17.54 km), Kirti Nagar to Dwarka Sector- 28 (18.17 km), Badarpur to Delhi Aerocity (20.79 km), Lajpat Nagar to Madangir (7.33 km) and Azadpur to R. K. Ashram (8.90 km). The DPRs for Phase IV are likely to be ready within the next 18 months.

“DMRC has been asked to conduct detailed surveys for additional lines from Dwarka Sector- 21 to IFFCO Chowk, Shiv Vihar to Mukundpur and Rithala to Bawana,” said Mr. Nath. With completion of the proposed Phase IV by 2021, the Delhi Metro is likely to cover about 440 km, surpassing the London underground, he added.

More than 18 lakh people travel by the Delhi Metro everyday. “By the end of Phase III, which is expected to be completed by 2016, the Delhi Metro would have a total network of 312 km with a total ridership of about 40 lakh passengers per day,” said Mr. Nath.

There are also plans underway to increase the capacity and frequency of trains on the existing Delhi Metro network. “Presently, about 2,500 train trips are performed with 199 trains comprising 922 coaches. Two coaches have been added to 93 trains already, and supply of additional 212 coaches at a total cost of Rs. 1,800 crore is likely to begin in May 2012,” said Mr. Nath.

Mr. Nath also said that DMRC supplements the bus rapid transit system (BRTS) and should not be seen as an alternative to it.

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