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Airport Express shuts today on safety concerns to resume plying by August

Malaysian contractor asked to carry out repair work

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Delhi Airport Metro Express, touted as the country’s fastest Metro link and the first to be built under public-private partnership, will also become India’s first Metro line to shut down when it temporarily stops plying from tomorrow. The line, to be shut at the instance of operator on safety concerns, is expected to resume operations by August-end.

The services will be suspended from 5:30 am on July 8 due to technical defects in civil structures, the construction of which was supervised by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

The line runs from New Delhi Railway Station to Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport and is operated by Anil Ambani-promoted It had started operations only 17 months back, in February last year.

  • Sep 2007: First tender for line construction awarded
  • Jan 23, 2008: DMRC awards a 30-year PPP contract to RInfra
  • Aug 31, 2010: Original schedule of opening of Airport Express line
  • Oct 31, 2010: DMRC starts charging ~75 lakh a day as penalty from Reliance Infrastructure
  • Feb 23, 2011: Airport Express line commences operation
  • Jul 8, 2012: Airport Express line operation would be suspended due to technical issues and safety concerns

The urban development ministry, the nodal ministry for all metro projects in the country, on Saturday met officials from Reliance India, DMRC, the railways ministry and the Delhi government. DMRC Managing Director Mangu Singh, CEO Sumit Banerjee, and Urban Develo-pment Secretary Sudhir Krishna also attended the meeting.

Krishna said after the meeting: “Reliance Infra reported there were some defects in the civil structure. There are problems with the bearing, which is the interface between the pillar and the girder. Repairs have to be done below the girders.”

A committee comprising officials from the Indian Railways, DMRC and Reliance Infra are studying the nature of defects and would submit a report in the next 10 days, after which rectification works would be carried out. IJM, the Malaysian contractor, which constructed this stretch, would be asked to do the repair work. DMRC and Reliance, as partners of the consortium, would oversee the work. It is not yet clear who will bear the cost of repair.

The line is expected to resume services when it gets re-certifications on safety parameters from experts and authorities. “By August-end, we expect the line to be functional again,” said Krishna though an RInfra executive maintained it was premature to give a timeline for the resumption of operations.

Under watch: IJM Corporation

The IJM Corporation of Malaysia, through its Hyderabad-based arm, IJM (India) Infra Ltd, had implemented four projects for the Delhi Metro. With a total value of around Rs 555 crore, the projects were for construction of elevated viaduct. Its first Metro project became operational in April 2003 on the Connaught Place-Kirti Nagar line. Problems have arisen in the construction of viaduct in the Dhaula Kuan section for Airport Express. It had started work on the Rs 135-crore project in December 2007 and completed it in July 2010.

First Published: Sun, July 08 2012. 00:02 IST