Building Metros: India's safety record better than China, Korea, Europe

Building Metros: India's safety record better than China, Korea, Europe

The collapse of a part of an underconstruction Delhi Metro line on Sunday last was the second accident involving Gammon India, the leading construction company, in two years. On September 9, 2007, eight pre-cast blocks caved in at the flyover on Punjagatta in the heart of Hyderabad, killing two persons. In Delhi, six people were killed and 15 injured when a part of the elevated  Metro track came crashing down in south Delhi on the Central Secretariat-Badarpur section, slated to open by September 2010 when the Commonwealth Games are to be hosted in the city.

Gammon’s Vice President (Marketing) R L Telang, who was designated by the company to reply to queries regarding Delhi metro mishap, asserted that Gammon’s safety record was “very very good” and pointed out that the mishaps that occurred in metro projects in India were much lesser than those which occurred in China, Korea or Europe. An interaction:

What led to the collapse of underconstruction Metro track in Delhi?

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has ordered an inquiry into the incident and the report is expected by Tuesday. Till that time, I would not like to make any comment on that incident, I cannot tell you whether it was a design or technical fault or something else.

It is the second mishap involving Gammon in as many years.

See, what happened in Hyderabad was that supporting spans to the temporary structure had come down. One of the reasons was that the soil was loose since the Hyderabad water supply authorities had carried out pipe installation close to the site before the project was implemented and the filling was not up to the mark. On that day there was huge downpour for one and a half hours which led to the spans coming down.

An inquiry by technical experts held Gammon responsible for negligence.

There is another report which I cannot share with you, which says that we are not hundred per cent responsible. The Hyderabad municipal corporation, Gammon India, the project authorities and project consultants, all were equally responsible.

What lessons were learnt by Gammon?

You must understand that we don’t make mishaps happen. We are a 90-year-old company and safety and quality is our top priority. We take adequate precautions and safety measures to ensure mishap-free implementation of projects. We observe highest safety and quality standards.

How many projects Gammon has currently on hand? What is the safety record?

Gammon is currently involved in implementing more than a hundred infrastructure projects. As far as the safety record of the company is concerned, it has been certified to be, if not excellent, but very very good.

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