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Banks may send notice to Airport Metro for non-payment of dues

The original concessionaire of the project was Reliance Infrastructure Ltd.

New Delhi: Consortium of lenders led by Axis Bank may send notice to Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Ltd for non-payment of dues for over two months, an official of IIFC (UK) said on Friday.

The consortium has an exposure of Rs 1,800 crore in the project and IIFC (UK), a subsidiary of India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL) had given loan of USD 54 million (about Rs 350 crore) for import of rolling stock of the project.

The original concessionaire of the project was Reliance Infrastructure Ltd.

The Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL), a Special Purpose Vehicle of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, in July this year had said that they terminated the Concession Agreement with DMRC for the airport metro line nearly 9 months back, vide its notice dated October 8, 2012.

In line with this legal position, the lenders have already approached DMRC for recovering their dues, and the matter is under discussion between themselves."

IIFC (UK) in its board meeting yesterday reviewed the lending to Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Ltd as payment is overdue for more than 2 months.

It has been decided in the board to actively participate in the consortium meetings so that IIFC (UK) interest is safeguarded.

When contacted, IIFCL's acting Chairman and Managing Director Harsh Kumar Bhanwala confirmed that the board has reviewed the account of Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Ltd along with some others.

"The consortium members are concerned and IIFCL will also be writing to the lead banker to take it forward," he said.

According to an IIFCL official said "for lenders, as of now Reliance Infrastructure was still the concessionaire as DMRC has not yet absolved them."

When contacted, a DAMEPL spokesperson said: "DAMEPL has terminated the Concession Agreement by its Termination notice dated October 8, 2012 owing to DMRC's Event of Default. DMRC has already taken over the entire Project with effect from 1st July 2013, with all existing contracts, employees, etc from DAMEPL.

"DMRC is also collecting all the revenues from both, ticketing and retail business, from that date.
"Accordingly, there is no liability on DAMEPL to make any further repayment to the Lenders. Instead, as per the terms of the Agreement, and as legally advised, all liabilities to lenders are now to be repaid by DMRC," the spokesperson added.

The Delhi Metro Rail has taken over the operations of the airport line. DMRC took over operations of the 22.7 km-long Airport Express link with an Operations and Maintenance team of 100 officials to handle the line.

The total ridership of the Airport express line during the peak of its operations was recorded at 21,000 per day.

The metro line was shut down July last year after problems arose due to defects in the civil structure, which were later rectified and it resumed operations in January this year.

Since then its ridership has been recorded about 11,000 per day on an average.


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