Airport Metro may restart next month
Structural faults need to be repaired
The Delhi Metro Airport Express may resume operations by August-end after 230 bearings on the elevated sections of the corridor are repaired, according to the Union Urban Development Ministry on Saturday.
There are 2,100 bearings on this corridor. The Airport Express line will be shut down starting Sunday as Reliance Infrastructure — the operator of the line — claimed that the Metro railings may fall off if the company did not act now.
All stakeholders have agreed that the line has to be shut down due to structural faults detected on the 23-km-long corridor, on which trains run at 105 kmph, and not because of financial losses.
Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna said a committee comprising officials of Indian Railways, DMRC and Reliance Infrastructure is inspecting the Airport line and will submit a report in 10 days.
“The overhaul will be carried out after receiving the reports. Reliance Infrastructure has reported that there are some defects on the civil structure and problems with the bearings. The bearings are the interface between pillars and girders in odd locations,” he said.
He said Reliance Infrastructure insisted on suspending operations till repairs are completed as “safety of passengers is a priority. I agree that the construction should last for at least 100 years and it will last. But there are problems with bearings in certain locations,” the secretary said.
DMRC chief Mangu Singh said the Airport Metro has been a unique experiment with 99 per cent of structures being intact, but the present issue is related to small yet crucial bearings.
Reliance Infrastructure CEO Sumit Banerjee said the corridor was not generating expected profits, but the company will continue to run the line contrary to “rumours” of its closure. “This decision is linked with safety of both passengers and workers,” said Banerjee.
However, both Krishna and Delhi Chief Secretary P K Tripathi evaded questions on who would bear the cost of repairs. “While Reliance Infrastructure operates and maintains the corridor, DMRC built the civil structure. We will decide once the reports are out,” said Krishna. He hinted at IJM, the contractor of the line, bearing the expenditure to a great extent.