DMRC blacklists Delhi rail design consultant

Placing a statement in both Houses of Parliament, Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy said a four-member inquiry committee that probed the accident at the Zamrudpur site in south Delhi found “serious” deficiency in the design of the cantilever arm that gave way, leading to the collapse of a launching girder with a portion of a viaduct. The committee, Reddy said, also found that the concrete did not have adequate strength “probably” due to lack of sufficient curing of the construction material. From now on, Delhi Metro designs will be checked twice before being adopted, DMRC chief E Sreedharan said on Tuesday.

At a press conference in the capital, Sreedharan said among the side measures taken by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to avoid any such accidents in future will be a design double-check by an independent design office. “DMRC has decided not to depend entirely on its design office when it comes to the designs. General consultants or an independent design office will check the designs first and then pass it on to the (DMRC) design office. So there will be a double check,” Sreedharan said.

Reddy told Parliament that DMRC had also debarred for two years structural consultants Tondon Consultants and started a special drive to check all the cantilever piers constructed so far, with their designs being rechecked by design consultants Shirish Patel and Associates (SPA). Incidentally, SPA found hairline cracks on 18 piers in various under-construction portions of Delhi Metro, leading to a sense of panic among residents of the city. However, Reddy allayed all apprehensions, saying while the accidents had occurred in under-construction portions, the completed portions were operating without any problem for last several years. The DMRC, he told Parliament, had also taken strong action against several of its officials, suspending deputy chief engineers in charge of design and site supervision V P Srivastava and Mukesh Thakur, issuing a major penalty chargesheet to chief engineer (design) Rajan Kataria, and replacing C Mallonga, consultant of General Consultant who had direct responsibility for ensuring quality of work. Reddy assured members that the government would do everything to ensure that the Metro network was world class, adding that safety would not be compromised at any cost.

Based on the probe by a DMRC-appointed panel, Sreedharan said the design consultant, Arch Consultancy Services, has been blacklisted for five years, while the structural consultant Tandon Consultants, was debarred for two years.

DH News Service

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