Delhi govt rejects elevated station at Sarai Kale Khan
The ambitious highspeed Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) will miss the July 2024 deadline as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has officially rejected the National Capital Region Transport Corporation’s (NCRTC) proposal to build an elevated station at Sarai Kale Khan. The government denied it on the grounds that construction of the station would delay the redevelopment project of the existing Sarai Kale Khan inter-state bus terminal (ISBT) by over two years.
The proposed station at Sarai Kale Khan was meant to be the starting point of the 82-km-long RRTS line from the New Delhi side. But, on September 12, state transport minister Kailash Gahlot returned the file saying the Delhi government will agree only to the previous plan of the NCRTC in which the proposed station was designed to be underground.
“The change of Sarai Kale Khan station, from underground to an elevated station, is not acceptable as it would seriously delay our redevelopemnt plan for the ISBT. This needs to be communicated to the NCRTC,” the minister had written.
When contacted on Saturday, Gahlot said the NCRTC had not kept the Delhi government in loop while changing the station’s design. “At least 11 approvals, including those from the Archaeological Survey of India, Delhi Development Authority, UTTIPEC, Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC), environment, for- est and fire departments, have already been taken for the (ISBT) project. We just have to float tenders to start work. If we allow the NCRTC to go ahead, then our ISBT project would be delayed as all approvals will have to be taken afresh, which will take a long time,” he said.
At present, the Sarai Kale Khan ISBT witnesses a daily average footfall of 57,000 passengers. As per NCRTC’s initial detailed project report, the proposed underground station conformed with the multi-modal integration plan of the ISBT. It was estimated that after the redevelopment, the multi-modal hub would handle 97,000 passengers every day as it would connect the ISBT with the upcoming DelhiMeerut RRTS, the Nizamuddin Metro station under Delhi Metro’s Pink Line, the Nizamuddin railway station and bus stand.
The NCRTC, however, said it is yet to receive any such communication from the Delhi government.
“We have had at least three meetings with the Delhi government on this issue. One meeting was held by secretary of the Union ministry of road transport and highways, another was chaired by Delhi chief secretary and the third was chaired by the transport commissioner. We had offered solutions and believed they were accepted by the Delhi government,” NCRTC chief public relations officer Sudhir Kumar Sharma said.
This is the second setback for the NCRTC with regard to the ₹31,902-crore Delhi-Meerut RRTS project.
In August, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had written to the Centre stating that the Delhi government will not be able to fund the project due to “inadequate finances”, raising questions on the future of the ambitious corridor which promises an end-toend travel time of 55 minutes. The share of the Delhi government in the ₹31,902-crore project comes to ₹1,138 crore.
■ The station at Sarai Kale Khan was meant to be the starting point of the 82kmlong RRTS line on the New Delhi side.