Bolster public transport to reduce air pollution: EPCA

Agency asks Supreme Court to intervene for approval of Metro Phase IV project

July 09, 2019 01:40 am | Updated 01:40 am IST - New Delhi

NEW DELHI, 09/04/2013: Supreme Court of India in New Delhi on April 10,  2013. 
Photo: S. Subramanium

NEW DELHI, 09/04/2013: Supreme Court of India in New Delhi on April 10, 2013. Photo: S. Subramanium

To reduce air pollution in Delhi, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) requested the Supreme Court to intervene in the “grossly inadequate” public transport infrastructure of the city.

In a ‘special report’ submitted to the SC on July 1, the EPCA urged it to intervene for the approval of Phase IV of Delhi Metro, which is stuck between the Central and Delhi governments. It also requested the SC to ask the government to speed up the process to purchase more buses. “Cities like Beijing have 107 buses per lakh people while Delhi has 17 buses per lakh people,” the report stated. The proposal for phase IV of Delhi Metro was submitted in 2014 and work was to begin by 2016 and “further delay will cost the city enormously”, the report said.

“The stalemate between the governments are on different financial aspects of the project. The Delhi government has on April 10, 2019, communicated its direction that Delhi Metro Rail Corporation would not start the work till these issues are resolved,” the report stated.

The EPCA said there are four issues between the governments — taxes, sharing of land cost, bearing operational cost and repayment of JICA loan. Two of these are “notional”, the report stated, adding that the Centre says operational cost should be borne by the Delhi government while the latter demands a 50:50 share. The DMRC stated that the costs involved in the project costs would increase with delay.

The Supreme Court in 1998 stated that the city should have 10,000 buses, but there are only 5,279 buses in the city, the report states. “All DTC buses are above 8-10 years. The maintenance contract for the operation of the buses is for 10 years... so replacement becomes critical as more and more buses would be phased out in the coming 2-3 years,” the report states. “It is clear that the number of additional buses that will be on Delhi roads by January 2020 would be 1,000 and an additional 650 buses could be on roads soon after. This would not be sufficient and therefore, the procurement strategies of the remaining buses must be expedited,” the report states.

Delhi Dialogue and Development Commission vice-chairperson Jasmine Shah said, “We are in the process of procurement of 4,000 buses and 1,000-1,500 buses will hit the roads by December 2019 and the rest in 2020.”

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