Tuesday, July 23, 2024

After SC’s adverse comments, Delhi govt says sent file for release of remaining fund for RRTS project a month back

Hours after the Supreme Court came down heavily on the AAP government in the national capital saying that advertisement funds of the Delhi government be attached towards fulfillment of its share for construction of the Delhi-Alwar and Delhi-Panipat corridor of the Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) project, the Delhi government said that it supports the project and it has already sent the file for release of the remaining funds approved by the Transport Minister to the Finance Secretary over a month ago, yet the funds haven’t been released.

The Delhi government said, “The Arvind Kejriwal government supports the RRTS project and welcomes Supreme Court order regarding the same.”

It said the first tranche of funds of approximately Rs 80 crore had already been released few months back.

“While the file for release of the remaining funds was approved by the Transport Minister and sent to the Finance Secretary over a month ago, the funds haven’t been released yet. As a result, the Delhi government had to hear adverse comments in the SC today,” it added.

The remarks came after the Supreme Court said that advertisement funds of the Delhi government be attached towards fulfillment of its share for construction of the Delhi-Alwar and Delhi-Panipat corridor of RRTS project.

A bench of Justices S.K. Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia said that the above order will come into force if the Delhi government fails to make financial arrangements within a period of one week.

“We will stay the advertisement budget, attach it and take it here (for RRTS project),” the bench said as it heard an application filed by the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC).

In its application, the Corporation – which is implementing the RRTS project – said that the Delhi government by not providing funds has breached its undertaking given earlier to the Supreme Court.

In its order, the apex court said that the rapid rail project is a “part of process of reducing pollution” and has a “vast impact” on the people. It said that the budgetary allocation made by the Delhi government for advertisement should be transferred towards the rapid rail project.

“You have breached an undertaking…You did not even come to seek an extension. You did not move an application that I (state government) cannot do in 2 months and will do it in 3 months. No such application was made,”said the Supreme Court as it listed the application for further hearing on November 28.

In July this year, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Sighvi, appearing for Delhi government, had assured the top court that the overdue amount of Rs 415 crore will be paid within 2 months.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had called for an affidavit from the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP detailing the funds spent by it for advertisements in the last three financial years after it expressed its inability to contribute funds for construction of the RRTS project.

“If you have money for advertisements, why don’t you have money for a project that will ensure smooth transport?” the top court had questioned.

The Delhi government has an advertisement budget of Rs. 550 cores in the current financial year and has spent more than Rs 1,100 crore on advertisements in the last 3 financial years.

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