The Delhi government has given an in-principal approval to the elevated station at Sarai Kale Khan for the high-speed Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) proposed by the National Capital Region Transport Corporation.

Once complete, the rapid transit system will be three times faster than any metro and would make it possible for passengers to get from Delhi to Meerut within an hour!

The government has set five years- 2024 as the target for the transport system to be operational. Once operational, the transit system will make travelling from Delhi to Meerut a breeze, as the estimated travelling time is expected to be 55 minutes.

The approval is four months late as the Delhi government feared that the construction of this elevated station would delay the redevelopment of Sarai Kale Khan interstate bus terminal (ISBT) by two years, hence they rejected it.

However, on January 18 the Supreme Court of India chided the government saying that the delaying the project was not good as the rapid system is ‘absolutely necessary’. Though the Delhi government counsel that appeared before the apex court said that the government had an issue with funds for the project. To which the bench responded strongly by saying, “The project cannot depend on your (Delhi Government’s) mercy”. The bench also said that the project will affect the right to life of the Delhi people and it is essential ‘for Delhi’ and the government ‘has to give it’.

Even though the government has given its in-principle approval, it does not directly mean that the progress on the same would be fast tracked. The Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) is 82km in length and would cost ₹ 31,902 crore. Which is why the Delhi government wants the Central government to bear its share worth ₹1,138 crore.

Talking to media, transport minister Kailash Gahlot said “NCRTC has agreed to design the ISBT revamp plan and take necessary approvals from the concerned authorities.” This project will be constructed simultaneously with the Sarai Kale Khan RRTS station so that the construction deadline for the ISBT does not gets delayed.

The NCRTC has also agreed to construct several things at the ISBT including the pedestrian plaza, the city bus terminal, and the common commuter & multimodal integration facilities. He also said that the government seeks the required underpasses and infrastructure at ISBT to be funded by the Urban Development Fund (UDF) maintained by the ministry of housing and urban affairs.

The 2032 vision for the Functional Plan on Transport for NCR recommends creating eight corridors - Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut, Delhi-Gurugram-Rewari-Alwar, Delhi-Sonipat-Panipat, Delhi-Faridabad-Palwal, Ghaziabad-Khurja, Delhi-Bahadurgarh-Rohtak, Ghaziabad-Hapur, Delhi-Shahadra-Baraut. Connecting Delhi with Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan through the high speed transit system.

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