The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Monday will take a decision regarding the operation of the Gurgaon Rapid Metro. It is the country's first fully privately built rapid rail system, whose uninterrupted continuation is at stake.
On June 7, a 90-day termination notice was served by Rapid Metro Rail Gurgaon Limited (RMGL) and Rapid Metro Rail Gurgaon South Limited (RMGSL), the two special purpose vehicles (SPVs) floated by IL&FS Infrastructure for the rail project, to Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA).
An IL&FS spokesperson had stated that due to various breaches in the contract by HUDA, the two SPVs had served termination notices, giving a 90 days' notice as per the concession agreement. However, some sources claim that the two IL&FS SPVs decided to terminate operations for financial reasons. IL&FS is currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings in the NCLAT.
After the expiry of the termination notice, HUDA had gone to the High Court on Friday challenging the validity of the notice and sought courts directions on continuity of public utility by these two SPVs operating the metro link. The HC had deferred the hearing for Monday and ordered service be continued till Monday midnight.
Sources say that HUDA should have initiated steps to take over the utility and ensure continuity of operations. "Why wait till expiry of termination notice period to challenge validity. Where is the contingency plan to take over and run the operations," said sources.
According to IL&FS Infrastructure, RMGL and RMGSL had on Friday got approval from Justice (retd) D K Jain, appointed by NCLAT to oversee ILFS resolution process, to transfer the Gurgaon Metro Link to HUDA on September 9. Thereon, HUDA is free to take a decision as to whether IL&FS will be engaged in managing the Gurgaon metro or not.
According to sources, the "Larger question to be decided is who will run the Metro. Once that is resolved, continuity will be ensured."
Gurgaon Metro is an intrinsic public utility carrying nearly 60,000 commuters every day. It is a fully-elevated rapid transit system which provides connectivity to the Delhi Metro from Sikanderpur Station. The rapid metro project had commenced operations on its first phase in November 2013 and the second phase in March 2017.
(With inputs from PTI)