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CAG pulls up Delhi Metro

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has observed that Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had scaled down its testing requirements in four cases, company representatives did not witness the tests in eight cases, and that it tested material in non-accredited laboratories and did not preserve the reports. These tests were undertaken to ensure safety of the project, which has come under a cloud recently due the collapse of the pillar leading to the death of six workers in a construction site for Delhi Metro in phase two. The report, however, is based on audit of the first phase of the project when no major accidents had occurred.

“DMRC scaled down testing requirements in four contracts as these were falling behind schedule,” said Deputy CAG AN Chatterji.

“We have regards for Sreedharan. And, If we are questioning Delhi Metro’s mechanisms, we are not questioning its MD’s integrity,” Chatterji added.

On its part, DMRC has claimed that there was no relaxation in testing and all the requisite tests for ensuring the quality were conducted.

The first phase of the Delhi Metro project was completed in seven years and three months time, which was two years and nine months ahead of schedule.

The CAG, in its report on the implementation of Phase I of the Delhi Metro Rail Transit system, has accused DMRC of increasing the cost by Rs 260 crore, besides additional energy consumption of Rs 2.26 crore per annum, by adopting broad gauge in the first phase.

Implementation of broad gauge was cleared by Group of Ministers. They cleared it so that the present broad gauge railways line could be used for plying metro trains, which does not seem to be happening.

The report also blames the corporation of not making a corporate plan to chart out its goals and strategies. The CAG has also questioned the model evolved for DMRC, which presents ambiguity relating to the issues of coordination and control by the executive government and the proper forum for legislative accountability.

The CAG also said that the report, which was sent to the government on July 1, 2008, was not tabled in Parliament and was sent back to the CAG in 2009 May.

“This was an unprecedented move by the government, where it returned the report asking CAG to make some changes,” said Deputy CAG AN Chatterji.

Recently, a section of an overhead bridge under construction in New Delhi collapsed before dawn, killing five workers and an engineer, the second such collapse in eight months. DMRC Managing Director Elattuvalapil Sreedharan resigned after that.

First Published: Sat, July 18 2009. 01:06 IST