Namma Metro chugs on...

Going by the maxim that fear is a friend but anxiety an enemy, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Managing Director N Sivasailam awaits the Delhi Metro accidents enquiry report, not with trepidation but the hope that there may be fresh lessons to learn.

“Method statement is a key element of every Metro contract and it is scrutinised by the in-house team of General Consultants, which includes international consultants whose terms of reference allow independent audit of safety and quality standards. But the ultimate socio-technical responsibility for the works rests with the organisation,” he says and adds that Delhi’s experience might make them wiser.

Discounting the need for oversight by third parties, he says it is not the number of layers that matters but professionalism at every level of execution. “Will a third party assume responsibility for every wrong? How can one be sure that third parties will not succumb to pressures? How can human failing be different in respect of third parties?” he counters. 

Admitted, it is not part of culture to blame the dead. But all three casualties suffered during preliminary works of Namma Metro were the result of workmen’s negligence - a sentry dozed off in a heavy vehicle movement area and was crushed to death at night; two more casualties during demolition work.

“You may say they are unskilled workers but we had the brains. The site engineer was right there yelling out precautions but the worker went ahead and brought down the wall on himself. Whom does one blame for that?” he wonders. Again, during inspection the other day, he spotted a worker without helmet and summoned the engineer to direct him to censure the worker and ensure he adhered to safety norms. When the engineer withdrew to find the errant worker, work stopped and word went round that the “MD’s visit halted Metro work”! “What does one call that - occupational hazard,” he asks.
Still, safety first is our mantra, chips in BMRC Chief PRO Yashavanth Chavan. “If need arises, we will carry out non-destructive test on all our pillars.”

Its all in the game, admits Sivasailam and goes on to explain the deadlines: Seventy piers more to construct to complete Reach 1 from Byappanahalli to Cricket stadium on M G Road (6.7 km) to meet the December 2010 deadline.

Reach 2 Magadi Road - Mysore Road Terminal (6.8 km) is  scheduled for Sept 2012; Reach 3 Swastik - Yeshwantpur (6.5 km) and Yeshwantpur - Peenya (Reach 3A, 3 km) depot for  June 2011;  addition from Peenya depot - Hessarghatta Cross (2.6 km) for Sept 2012; Reach 4 K R Road to R V Road (4.5 km) and R V Road - Puttenahalli Cross (Reach 4A, 3.6 km) for Oct 2012.

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