New Delhi: Days before the Airport Metro Express was shut down temporarily, its operator Reliance Infrastructure had warned the Urban Development Ministry that the operation of the line was "unsafe" and slowing down of speed was "adversely impacting" it financially.
Operations on the 23-km high-speed corridor were suspended on July 8 after Reliance Infra detected cracks on the civil structure that were built by the Delhi Metro as part of the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) agreement.
However, the Delhi Metro had countered the argument saying the defective civil work issue is being "played up" by the Reliance Infra "in order to create a case for getting out of the Concession Agreement."
These observations are made in a Status Report on the corridor that Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath had sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 11.
Reliance Infra officials had met Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna and handed over a set of photographs showing defects in civil structure, he said.
"DAMEPL (Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited) informed that the operation of the project is not only unsafe but also dangerous to life and property and as advised by DMRC was continuing to operate the services at a reduced speed.
"However, due to the decrease in speed, the ridership had been reduced substantially, thereby adversely impacting the project financials," Nath said, quoting a letter from DAMEPL on June 22.
During a review meeting on June 28, Nath said DMRC chief Mangu Singh mentioned that the "defective civil work issue is being played up by DAMEPL in order to create a case for getting out of the Concession Agreement."
"Secretary (UD) and MD, DMRC were given directions to closely monitor all aspects including safety on priority," Nath said.
Nath also said the execution of the civil repair work would be monitored by an independent Project Management Consultant.
"Repairs would be undertaken by DAMEPL and the cost charged to the contractor (IJM of Malaysia) and further resolved with DMRC," the Minister said.
Though in the letter he said that the line is expected to become operational by end of August, it will take more time as an inspection of the line has revealed that several bearings, the interface between pillar and girder, are faulty.
The Urban Development Ministry has now decided to check all the 2,100 bearings on the Line. Krishna had yesterday indicated that the deadline would not be met.
Airport Metro Express is the first PPP project in the country in the new age transport sector.
Former DMRC chief E Sreedharan had in December said the project was not so successful and expressed his displeasure over the manner the corridor was run.
First Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 17:25