Airport Metro extension to Gurgaon waits for final call

Despite several rounds of discussions, the proposed extension of the high-speed Airport Metro line to IFFCO Chowk in Gurgaon continues to hang in a balance. The detail project report (DPR) of the proposed 10-km extension of the airport corridor has not been drafted yet.

The Ministry of Urban Development in December had directed the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to submit a revised DPR in a month, after the Haryana government requested to modify the alignment.

"A final decision on the extension of the Airport Metro line has not been taken yet. Various dimensions related to the corridor are still being decided," DMRC Managing Director Mangu Singh said.

The DMRC was asked to review the possibility of connecting the airport line to areas of Old Gurgaon. Sources said the estimated ridership figures were also one of the contentious issue. "The Haryana government was of the opinion that the ridership figures for the line were undervalued. The low ridership figure can prove a damp squib during the bidding process for the concessionaires. To address this concern, a need was felt to further review the DPR," a senior official said.

The other challenge for the Delhi Metro is to either continue operations of the Metro line extension on the public-private partnership model or to run the line on its own. The existing airport line from New Delhi to Dwarka Sector-21 via IGI Airport is operated by Reliance Infra-led Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Ltd.

"To have an arrangement of two concessionaire could be an non-viable option. As a different concessionaire on the newly constructed line would have to procure its own rolling stock, separate arrangement of signaling system and track system. Resource sharing in such a scenario could throw more challenges," the official said.

Reliance Infra sources said the company was willing to run the line till IFFCO Chowk. "We are interested in operating the extension project of the Airport Metro line as and when the proposal materialises. If tenders are invited to choose the concessionaire for the line, we would bid for the line," a source said.

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