Cash strapped Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation (JMRC) has again demanded increase in the share of the Rajasthan Transport Infrastructure Development Fund (RTIDF) from the state government. The demand has been put forward as the department is planning to create a depreciation reserve fund for smooth operations and maintenance.
An JMRC official informed, “RTIDF funds are released after a meeting chaired by chief secretary. As wear and tear of the Metro trains and other infrastructure has increased, a request has been made to increase the funds. In previous financial year, around Rs 90 crore was sanctioned for the JMRC from the RTIDF fund.”
Sources said the revenue of Metro was adversely affected during Covid. A JMRC official said, “The revenue earning source of Metro was affected during lockdown. In a span of two months, almost Rs 2.5 crore was lost each month. Considering these circumstances, the request was sent to the government.”
Unlike other Metros, the maximum share of operational losses of Jaipur Metro is borne by residents since the state government is raising money for RTIDF by levying cess on several services. An official source said, “Metro rail is a neglected project now and its expansion is not in the priority list of any government. A team is required to put in efforts to increase the revenue of Metro.” On an average, the Metro is incurring approximately Rs 40 crore expenditure per annum that includes maintenance and operational costs, salaries and other fixed expenses.
A source said, “In the last two years, the Metro has been facing huge revenue losses as ridership touched below 10,000. Moreover, no boost in revenue was witnessed in pandemic times even after making Phase I(B) corridor operational.” Sources said the proposal to create a Metro dedicated fund under which money had to be collected under three heads is gathering dust . For the Metro dedicated fund, the corporation had proposed to levy entry tax on heavy vehicles, selling land and providing premium floor area ratio (FAR) along the Metro corridor.