The Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) -- a corridor between Delhi, Ghaziabad and Meerut -- is "absolutely necessary" and cannot be at the "mercy" of the Delhi government, the Supreme Court said today.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said the project was "essential" for people of Delhi as it would help in de-congesting the roads of the national capital and curb pollution.
The top court was told that the estimated cost of the project is Rs 31,902 crore and the Delhi government's share is Rs 1,138 crore, which it wants the Centre to pay as it has no funds.
Of the 82.15 kilometre long corridor, Delhi will have a 13 kilometre section with stations at Sarai Kale Khan, New Ashok Nagar and Anand Vihar.
Advocate Aparajita Singh, assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the air pollution matter, told the bench that the "stalemate" continues as the Delhi government wants the Centre to pay their share.
"RRTS is one of the most important projects. This project will help in de-congesting Delhi. No attempt has been made on the part of Delhi government to solve the problem," the amicus said.
The counsel appearing for Delhi government told the court that they have "problem of funds" for the project.
To this, the bench said, "The project cannot depend on your (Delhi government) mercy. It is essential for Delhi. You are bound to give it. You cannot act like this. These are your duties".
"Budgetary allocation cannot come in the way of this project. This affects right to life also," the bench told the Delhi government's lawyer.
The lawyer said the Delhi government is not agreeable to the "revised alignment" of the Delhi-Meerut RRTS corridor due to a change of station at Sarai Kale Khan from "underground" to "elevated".
"What study have you (Delhi government) done on this?," the bench asked, adding: "You cannot say you do not want elevated station. It is not for you or the court to decide. It is for the experts to decide. Underground project will cost more".
"In our opinion, this project is absolutely necessary," the bench said.
The court asked Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) to convene a joint meeting of all the concerned stake holders within a week so that these issues could be sorted out.
It said the court should be informed about the outcome of the deliberations and posted the matter for further hearing on February 1.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that RRTS project is important as it would help in solving problem of traffic decongestion in New Delhi.
In its affidavit filed in the top court, Delhi government said that change of plan by national capital region transport corporation (NCRTC) on revised alignment of the RRTS station "would seriously delay the redevelopment of Sarai Kale Khan ISBT (inter state bus terminus)".
"Once the NCRTC reverts back to its original plan of alignment having underground RRTS station at Sarai Kale Khan, the same will be duly considered by the government of Delhi in a time bound manner," the affidavit said.
During the hearing, the bench also dealt with the issue of parking policy.
The Delhi government's counsel told the bench that the "Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Rules" were formulated and its draft was notified on January 24 last year.
"After considering the suggestions/objection received, the draft notification was further revised and proposal for obtaining approval of the competent authority for the issuance of notification of these Rules has been submitted to the Minister of Transport, Government of Delhi," the affidavit said.
The bench observed that a decision should be taken by the concerned minister within 10 days in this regard.