New Delhi: In the wake of a dressing down by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the Arvind Kejriwal government alleged it had to face the court’s ire because the Finance secretary failed to clear the file he had been sent a month ago for the release of funds for the RRTS project.
The Supreme Court earlier in the day pulled up the Delhi government for not coming up with funds for the Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) corridors to Alwar and Panipat, and said if the dues were not paid within a week, the funds allocated by the AAP government for advertisements will be transferred to the project.
The Kejriwal government in a statement said that it supports the RRTS project and welcomes SC order.
It said it had released the first tranche of funds, approx Rs 80 crore, a few months back.
“The file for release of the remaining funds was approved by the Transport Minister and sent to the Finance Secretary over a month ago yet the funds haven’t been released. As a result, the Delhi government had to hear adverse comments in the SC today,” the Delhi government said in a statement.
Finance secretary Ashish Chandra Verma told PTI that the Finance department had released Rs 80 crore for the RRTS project as demanded by the Transport department and will release further funds if asked by it.
“We released Rs 80 crore as per Transport department’s demand. We will release further funds demanded. No decision is taken by us regarding release of the fund for the project and whatever money is demanded by the Transport department is released by us,” Verma said.
Meanwhile, Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva demanded Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s resignation saying the Supreme Court’s order was a serious matter.
Arvind Kejriwal should resign from his post for not only “failing” the people of Delhi but also for violating the directions of the Supreme Court, he said.
The RRTS project involves construction of semi-high speed rail corridors connecting Delhi to Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, Alwar in Rajasthan, and Panipat in Haryana.
The apex court said budgetary provision was something which the state government should look into but if such national projects were to be affected and money was spent on ads, it would be inclined to direct that those funds be transferred to this project.
While hearing the matter on July 24, the apex court had berated the Delhi government for “throwing its hands up” over its share towards the RRTS corridors to Alwar and Panipat and directed it to shell Rs 415 crore for the project within two months.
The apex court had also then noted that the Delhi government spent Rs 1,100 crore on ads in the last three financial years.
The National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) is executing the RRTS project which is a joint venture between the Centre and the states involved.
The Delhi-Meerut project is already under construction and the Arvind Kejriwal government has agreed to pay its share of the cost.
The Delhi government had earlier refused to share the financial burden for the remaining two stretches, citing a paucity of funds.
The top court had earlier directed the Delhi government to contribute Rs 500 crore from the Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) to the RRTS corridor being constructed between Delhi and Meerut.