| Advani unveils the foundation stone of Barakhamba-Dwarka Metro rail in Delhi as Dikshit (right) and Khurana look on. (AFP)
New Delhi, June 3: The Delhi metro is the result of a “synergy between everybody” and can be considered a role model for other cities wishing to take up similar projects, deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani said today.
Advani said this while laying the foundation stone for the third line of phase one of the project, expected to be completed by 2005. It will cover nearly 30 km, connecting Barakhamba Road with Dwarka, thought to be Asia’s largest upcoming colony on the outskirts of south-west Delhi.
Advani, who heads the group of ministers on the Delhi metro, said the project would not have been possible if the Centre had not closely co-operated with the Japan and Delhi governments.
“So this project, which is being completed on time, is a result of (a) synergy between everybody and this mantra will be carried on to other cities where such projects will be taken up shortly,” Advani said.
He added: “This is not the occasion for giving political lectures but to express happiness.”
The deputy Prime Minister was joined by Japanese ambassador Akira Hayashi, Union urban development minister Ananth Kumar, Lieutenant-Governor Vijai Kapoor, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, state power minister Ajay Maken and Delhi Metro Railway Corporation chairman Madan Lal Khurana.
The Japanese ambassador surprised everyone present by addressing the gathering in Hindi.
“Mein Japan ke logon ki taraf se aap sab Dilli vasiyon ko hardhik subhkamnaye deta hoon (On behalf of the people of Japan, I extend best wishes to all Delhiites),” Hayashi said to thunderous applause.
Assuring his country’s continued support in ensuring that the metro rail project is completed in time, Hayashi said Japan had provided a Rs 3,400 crore soft loan for the project. He added that Japan would continue to help to make the project a big success.
Kumar said Hyderabad, Bangalore and Ahemdabad would soon start work on metro railway projects.
Maken announced that his ministry would examine if it is possible to supply electricity to the Delhi metro railway at cheap rates so that train fares are kept to the minimum.
When the group of ministers cleared the third line of phase one of the project, it was expected to cost Rs 3,000 crore.
But the cost is likely to fall after the Centre decided to reduce excise and customs duty on equipment purchased for the railway.
The Delhi government, too, has decided not to levy any sales tax on equipment.