Speculation over what forced the Delhi Airport Metro Line to suspend operations continues with a futile blame game being played out between the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and line concessionaire Reliance Infrastructure
The latest tussle is over a letter written by DMRC Managing Director Mangu Singh to Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath.
“A letter was written to the Urban Development Ministry on Wednesday, but I am yet to see a copy of it,” said DMRC Chief Public Relations Officer Anuj Dayal.
In the letter, which surfaced in media reports, the DMRC chief accused Reliance of using the issue of faulty bearings on the elevated section of the corridor to defend its poor financial state. Mr. Singh served as the Director (Works), who supervised construction of the civil structure for the 23-km high-speed Airport Express Line.
Hitting back at the accusations, the Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL) maintained that the temporary suspension of the service had nothing to do with the financial issue. “Safety was the priority. The decision to suspend the line was carried out after consulting with the Ministry of Urban Development, the Railways, DMRC and the Delhi Government,” said a DAMEPL spokesperson.
The faults in the civil structure of the corridor, that surface throughout the “letter” with regard to the bearings, was the main reason cited behind the suspension of the operations on the line. Out of the 2,100 bearings on the elevated section of the corridor, nearly 230 need some correction or the other. The Airport Express, developed under a Public-Private-Partnership concession, was awarded a 30-year operation concession to a joint venture of utility group Reliance Infra and Spanish rolling stock firm CAF. The DMRC was responsible for tunnelling and civil works.