Smriti Kak Ramachandran

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation prides itself on its feat of beating deadlines, but Sunday’s mishap has cast aspersion on the feasibility of “constructing too much, too soon”. Despite assurance that all “safety prerequisites” are being adhered to, accusations have begun flying.

“The obsession with speed, taking on too much work and stretching the elevated corridor has affected the quality of work. There is too much to oversee and too little supervision,” said a city-based architect. “The city will not remember how quickly they did it, but will recall how badly they did it.”

Alpana Kishore, social activist and convenor of New Delhi People’s Alliance, blamed DMRC’s “mad zeal” to construct 125 km by 2010. “When you are racing to meet the deadline and adding more and more routes to the existing ones, some cutting of corners is bound to happen.”

The DMRC in trying to cover more areas by adding more routes is “not giving the city the metro that it deserves”: “World over there is a certain ratio maintained as far as underground and elevated tracks are concerned, but in Delhi there is little effort made to save the city from the trauma that elevated stretches unleash,” said Ms. Kishore.

Those critical of the “over-expanded” Metro said that while only 10 more km were added to the existing span during Phase I, the DMRC had doubled the distance it seeks to cover in the second phase.

Union Urban Development Ministry Secretary and DMRC chairperson M. Ramachandran said: “DMRC is known for its efficiency and adherence to regulations and norms. The accident is very unfortunate, but it was due to a mechanical failure.”