New Delhi: The Delhi Metro has disclosed that Reliance Infrastructure – the concessionaire for the Airport Metro Express which has been shut temporarily for repair works – wanted to quit the showpiece line.
After closing down operations at the Airport Metro Express last Sunday, Reliance Infrastructure had said that the Delhi Metro – which was responsible for civil works on the high-speed line built on PPP model – had carried out shoddy work.
However, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) chief Mangu Singh has written to Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, stating R-Infra allowed the situation to "worsen to such an extent that services were required to be suspended”.
“Any professional operator would not have allowed the situation to come to that level," Singh is quoted as saying in the letter, according to a report in a leading national daily.
The ‘routine’ letter’ dated July 11 further says that "the current situation has arisen due to the fact that there were defects in fixing of the bearings and the same was not detected by Reliance in time".
Singh indirectly accused R-Infra of trying to use the bearings issue as an excuse to quit the Airport Metro project.
"As I have already brought to your kind notice, Reliance, even prior to this issue of damage to the bearings, had represented to DMRC about the financial viability of the project and had in fact written to DMRC in this respect. They had expressed that either DMRC take over or restructure the entire project so that the financial burden on them is reduced. Meanwhile, they were able to find this issue of bearings and suspended the services," the DMRC chief reportedly wrote in the letter.
The concessionaire has so far refuted the claims that it shut the operations due to financial reasons and not on the ground of safety.
Singh blamed the consultant for the project, RITES, and the contractor for the poor civil work. "Prima facie indications are that the bearings were not fixed as per the design and specifications by the contractor," Singh wrote.
The DMRC chief also said that there was no need to suspend operations on the entire line and the services between Dwarka Sector 21 and Aero City Station could have been continued as that portion of the line was “not affected at all”.