The Union Cabinet, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in March last year had approved three out of the six corridors of the Delhi Metro’s proposed phase 4 which will further improve connectivity in the national capital. “We had started our work in December last year with a groundbreaking ceremony, and were making progress but then the COVID-19 happened and it hit everything. So, we were also hit. And ph-4 work has been affected due to the pandemic,” Singh told PTI in an interview.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation chief, however, asserted that the ongoing project will be pushed further only by a few months.
“Both COVID-19 and the lockdown it induced has impacted the project of Ph-4, but it won’t get delayed by more than two to three months. And, therefore it won’t entail much cost escalation,” he said, when asked if there will be any cost escalation due to the impact of the pandemic.
Singh said these are challenging times but the DMRC team utilised the lockdown time to work on detailing and designing of the project, so that “we would be ready whenever the situation improved”.
During the 169-day period when metro services were suspended starting March 22, the DMRC had suffered losses worth nearly Rs 1,300 cr, sources had earlier said.
The Delhi Metro chief said, after the COVID-19 hit Delhi, labourers were camped up and later they started to move back to their native places.
“However, now almost 80-90 per cent of the labourers are back in the unlock process, and work is going on again keeping all safety precautions,” Singh said. Under approved segment of phase-4, 61.679-km of new metro lines shall be constructed across three different corridors comprising 45 metro stations. These new sections shall provide interconnectivity among the already operational lines of the Delhi Metro.
According to the government, the Mukundpur-Maujpur, R K Ashram-Janakpuri West and Aero City-Tughlakabad corridors were approved by the Cabinet.
The other three proposed corridors of phase-4 which have not yet been approved by the Union Cabinet are Rithala-Bawana-Narela, Inderlok-Indraprastha and Lajpat Nagar-Saket G Block.
After a long wait, work had begun on the construction of Delhi Metro’s phase-4 project with a groundbreaking ceremony held at Haider Badli Mor here on December 30 last year.
Piling work had also begun for construction of 10 stations of 28.92-km Janakpuri West-R K Ashram Marg corridor, which is an extension of the Magenta Line and will have a total of 22 stations.
And, then came the lockdown, and the DMRC was hit by it. But within the constraints, such as unavailability of adequate labour force, it moved ahead with the construction work of all the three corridors approved so far as part of phase-4, the DMRC had earlier said.
A huge office had been set up at Haiderpur Badli Mor station to monitor the construction of the phase-4 work.
“As part of the first corridor work, three interchange stations — Peeragarhi (with Green Line), Madhuban Chowk (with Red Line) and Haiderpur Badli Mor (with Yellow Line) — will come up. In addition, the entire Janakpuri West-R K Ashram Marg corridor will have three more interchange facilities at Majlis Park (Pink Line), Azadpur (with Yellow Line) and R K Ashram Marg (with Blue Line),” a senior DMRC official had earlier said.
The Aerocity-Tughlakabad corridor will come up with 15 stations.
The DMRC in August had commenced preliminary work on construction of the fifth metro bridge over river Yamuna, as part of its phase-4 work on the Majlis Park–Maujpur corridor.
The new 560 m-long bridge will come up between two existing bridges on Yamuna i.e. Wazirabad Bridge and the Signature Bridge. This will be the first ever metro bridge over Yamuna to be built using the cantilever construction technique. Asked about the status of construction of stations under phase-4, Singh said tenders have been floated and finalised for all the major elevated sections.
On the revenue losses suffered by the DMRC due to the suspension of services, and if any measures were taken, he said, “We are trying to make for the shortfall by using some cost-cutting measures, like deferring some of our expenditures on segments of the project which are not safety-critical.”