To sort out issues related to the operation of the Delhi Airport Express Metro Line and its debt, an empowered group of ministers (EGoM) headed by defence minister AK Anthony will take a final decision on Wednesday.
“The EGoM will decide whether to go for a new concessionaire or not and who’ll take the burden of the debt,” a senior government official said.
The Reliance Infra-led Delhi Airport Metro Express (DAMEPL), which pulled out of the project in June last year, said it is not responsible for the debt. DAMEPL has claimed a termination payment of about R2,800 crore from DMRC.
A consortium of 11 banks, led by Axis Bank, has an exposure of almost R2,000 crore to the project. If the line is given to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for permanent operations, then it will be responsible for serving the debt.
The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group company said DMRC is obliged to pay a termination payment equivalent to 130% of equity and the entire remaining debt. However, the arbitration panel, which is supposed to sort out the dispute between DMRC and DAMEPL, has not yet started its hearing. DAMEPL was making monthly losses of R4 crore on its operations.
“If the Express Line goes to DMRC then its promotors — the state government and the central government — will have to take the burden of the debt. The challenge before the ministry is how to make the Airport Express line financially viable,” the official added.