Stressing the need for a robust last-mile connectivity, the Centre has urged the Delhi government to release funds to procure 427 electric buses by Delhi Metro Rail Corp (DMRC).

Informed sources said that DMRC had submitted a proposal in January 2018 to the Delhi government for providing a grant under the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for the procurement of the buses to boost its feeder service. The request has been pending since then.

The Secretary in the central Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Durga Shanker Mishra, has written to Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev requesting him to intervene and expedite the approval of the DMRC proposal.

VGF is a grant to support projects that are economically justified but not financially viable. It was launched in 2004 to support infrastructure projects that fall under Public Private Partnerships.

“You are aware that provision of a good feeder service towards last mile connectivity improves modal shift from private transport to mass transit system like metro rail,” Mishra’s letter read.

“In Delhi this is a challenge and needs to be addressed squarely so as to provide easy accessibility to commuters from homes to offices, hospitals, institutes, shopping centres. This will not only reduce the congestion, vehicular pollution and accidents but also enhance the ridership of Delhi Metro,” Mishra added.

Mishra said the DMRC had said that it has submitted the proposal and flagged it several times, besides providing necessary clarification.

The State Transport Authority in Delhi had agreed in principle to support the proposal, he said.

Mishra added that the DMRC had invited tenders from various players in the anticipation that the purchase of these buses would be approved.