New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday criticised the Delhi government for expressing its inability to provide funds for the construction of the Regional Rapid Transport Systems (RRTS) project and directed it to furnish details of funds spent on advertisements in the last three financial years. A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia was informed by the Delhi government that it was unable to allocate funds for the project.
“The Delhi government has expressed its inability to contribute funds for a common project. Since paucity of funds is an impediment in this project, we call upon the NCT of Delhi to file an affidavit setting forth the funds utilised for advertisement as the project is of national importance. Details may be furnished for the last financial years,” the bench said.
The court questioned why the government did not have funds for a project that would ensure smooth transportation. “If you have money for advertisements, why don’t you have money for a project that will ensure smooth transport?” the Supreme Court asked the Delhi government.
The bench said it is a development project and added that “though financial aspects, we leave to the state government, but for a project of this nature, when you say no funds, we want to know how much you have spent on something like an advertisement”. The court reminded the state that “making a project is also an advertisement that you are doing something”, and asked it to file the affidavit.
Sources said the government has spent around Rs 1,100 crore on advertising over the past three years.
The Rapid Rail Project, a semi-high speed rail corridor, will connect Delhi with Meerut, and the estimated cost of the 82.15-km stretch is Rs 31,632 crore. The corridor, with 24 stations, will cover the distance from Sarai Kale Khan in Delhi to Modipuram, Meerut, in 60 minutes.
According to sources, the matter is with regard to the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut segment of the RRTS, where, out of the total project cost of Rs 30,274 crore, the Delhi government was supposed to give approximately Rs 1,180 crore. Of this, Rs 415 crore is yet to be released. An official said the situation for the Delhi-Gurugram-Alwar and Delhi-Panipat segments of the RRTS is also similar, where the Delhi government has not released any funds yet.