New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday slammed the Delhi government for claiming that it had no funds to pay for the Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) project, and alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had spent Rs 1,106 crore on advertisements alone over the past three years.
The BJP’s reaction comes a day after the Supreme Court asked the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government to file an affidavit containing all the details of the money it spent on advertisements after it said it could not contribute to the upcoming project due to paucity of funds.
“The Delhi state government has expressed its inability to contribute funds for the project. Since the paucity of funds seems to be an impediment, on behalf of NCT of Delhi, we call upon NCT of Delhi to file an affidavit setting forth funds utilised for advertisements by the state government as the project is of considerable importance. Details be furnished for the last three financial years,” the SC bench ordered Monday.
The RRTS project is a joint venture of the central government and the state governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan which aims to connect Delhi with its neighbouring cities.
Attacking the AAP government, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said that while the Uttar Pradesh and the central governments have contributed their share, the Kejriwal government does not care about the “public good” as it has not given the money despite Supreme Court’s rebuke.
“The Delhi-Meerut corridor is 82 km long, which will reduce the travel time between the two cities to just 60 minutes. The total cost of the project is Rs 31,632 crore, of which the UP and central governments have given their full contribution,” Bhatia told media persons.
“The Delhi government could spend Rs 1,106 crore in three years for the glorification of its government through advertisement, but they do not have funds for the RRTS project”, he added.
Meanwhile, BJP’s in-charge of National Information & Technology Dept, Amit Malviya Monday tweeted that in the Delhi-Gurugram-Alwar and the Delhi-Panipat segments, other states like Haryana and Rajasthan have started releasing their share, but Delhi was yet to do so.
He alleged that the AAP government had spent Rs 297 crore in 2020-21, Rs 596 crore in 2021-22 and Rs 211 crore in 2022-23 on advertisements and had allocated Rs 557.24 crore for the same in 2023-24.
ThePrint reached AAP’s spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj via call for a comment, but is yet to receive a response. ThePrint also contacted other spokespersons by phone and messages, but could not get a response at the time of publishing this report.
How much Delhi owes
The RRTS project envisages three high-speed rail corridors connecting Delhi with Ghaziabad, Meerut, Gurugram, Alwar and Panipat.
The three corridors being developed during the first phase of the project are Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut, Delhi-Gurugram-SNB-Alwar and Delhi-Panipat.
The Delhi-Meerut corridor is the first one to be taken up for construction and is expected to be completed by 2025. The other two corridors are still in the planning stage.
In March 2019, the Supreme Court had noted that the contribution for the Delhi-Meerut corridor of the central, the UP and the Delhi governments were Rs 5,687 crore, Rs 5,828 and Rs 1,180 crore, respectively.
The Delhi government paid two instalments for the project only after SC intervened twice.
The court had ordered the Delhi government to pay Rs 265 crore in March 2019, followed by another Rs 500 crore in April 2023, which the government paid. However, the Delhi government has not paid the remaining Rs 415 crore till date.
(Edited by Richa Mishra)