As the row over the closure of the Airport Metro Express escalated between the Reliance Infra-led concessionaire and Delhi Metro,the Urban Development Ministry on Monday disclosed that several clips in the underground section of the line had been severely damaged and it would take at least five months to rectify the problem.
Last week,the Ministry said repairs in the overhead section of the line would be completed by August and the Airport Metro would resume services.
Reliance is looking into the matter. The fault will take five months to rectify, Urban Development secretary Sudhir Krishna said.
We will try to resume services by August 10,but the situation will be clear only by July-end. We dont want to compromise on safety. Even if we resume services,train speed will not exceed 80 kmph till the clips damaged because of wear and tear are repaired, he said.
Other than the broken clips,Krishna said the bearings and girders have to be checked,too.
He said Reliance has assured the Ministry that it would continue to operate the Airport line.
But the concessionaire claimed on Monday that the defects in the structure existed from Day 1,and cannot be passed off as poor maintenance.
Sumit Banerjee of Reliance Infra said: We did not know about these defects because these are not easily visible. You need a crane to see them. These faults existed from day one,and cannot be attributed to maintenance.
The drawings have not been followed during installation of the bearings. These structures have a life-span of 15 years. A detailed inspection is mandatory every five years and a cursory check every year, he said.
Banerjee,however,parried questions on whether the line was inaugurated without a thorough inspection of the structure to meet the deadline.
The government has appointed a two-member committee to find the officials responsible for the defects in the bearings the interface between a pillar and a girder.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said: Everybody is passing the buck. That is why it was decided that a third party inspection should be carried out.
She said she has taken up the issue with DMRC chief Mangu Singh. There should not be any compromise on safety parameters, she said.
The Urban Development Ministry said the joint inspection team of the Railways,Delhi Metro and Reliance Infra submitted its report on Monday.
Krishna said: The report says 540 of the 2,100 bearings have been inspected. Most were found to be affected. Major defects were detected in several of them. Design consultant SYSTRA will study each bearing and suggest measures.
For now,the Urban Development Ministry has ruled out any change in the fare structure of the airport line.