The high-speed trams (HST) project, a pet scheme of the Delhi government and the Union ministry of surface transport, is yet to obtain the mandatory sanction from the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC).
Any project in Delhi that involves construction or building activity has to get DUAC's approval before it can be implemented. But DUAC chairperson Mir Nasrullah says, "We have not yet got any proposal for trams either from the Union government or the Delhi state government". Nasrullah says that the surface transport ministry never contacted it regarding the HST project, which the DUAC came to know about from newspaper reports.
DUAC officials feel that the HST will not be a success and cannot replace the Mass Rapid Transit System. Officials feel that although the Delhi government claims that the tram fares will range between Rs 5-7, there is no way that fares can be kept below Rs 30, imperative to make the Rs 6,000 crore project economically feasible.
The Delhi government has already floated global tenders for the scheme, but, says Nasrullah, "We want the proposal in complete form. Then the commission will study the project and see whether it suits the aesthetics of the city."
While Delhi chief minister Madan Lal Khurana maintains that the tram scheme does not require DUAC approval, and the surface transport ministry stresses that it has convinced DUAC of the viability of the project, DUAC officials deny both assertions. Nasrullah says that Khurana would be violating the law if he does not seek prior permission from the DUAC.
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