Delhi Metro on Saturday said it has rejected an offer by Reliance Infrastructure to quit the showcase Airport Metro Express citing financial non-viability and indicated that the corridor might be thrown open to public by Diwali.
Delhi Metro Managing Director Mangu Singh admitted that Reliance Infrastructure-led Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL) had sent a notice for terminating the Concession Agreement signed between the two, thereby exiting the corridor.
“They (DAMEPL) sent the notice. But, we have rejected,” Mr. Singh told reporters here. “Repairs are almost complete. The Line will undergo a safety inspection and then will be opened.”
Asked whether the line would be opened by Diwali, he said, “Two to three weeks, around Diwali we may be (able to operate.)”
DAMEPL has been struggling to run the line ever since the operations were launched in February last year and operations were suspended on July 8 after defects were found on civil structure.
Since then, the DMRC and DAMEPL have been at loggerheads over the corridor and a letter war between the two seems to have culminated with a communication from DAMEPL in early October that they want to terminate the Concession Agreement.
Delhi Metro, however, rejected the offer and based on a suggestion from DAMEPL the issues will now head for arbitration.
It is learnt that DAMEPL raised several issues regarding the financial non-viability of the country’s first Public-Private Partnership Metro project with the Delhi Metro and even sought for some restructuring of the model under which the corridor was being run.
DAMEPL refused to comment on the termination notice issue.
A spokesperson merely said, “The repair work executed by DMRC is nearing completion. We will recommence the operations of Airport Metro line soon after getting the necessary safety clearances. DAMEPL, as the Concessionaire will run the line.”