Airport expressline hits a security and speed hurdle
The opening of the Delhi Metro’s airport expressline has once again been delayed. Subhendu Ray reports.delhi Updated: Jan 18, 2011 23:26 IST
The opening of the Delhi Metro’s airport expressline has once again been delayed. This time on two issues—speed and security of the line. While issuing a safety certificate on December 9, 2010, the Commissioner for Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) has specifically pointed out these two issues.
The CMRS has categorically stated that the ministry of home affairs (MHA) will take the final call on the line’s security. It has also stated that the speed of the trains on the line cannot go beyond 105kmph.
“We will make the line operational once we get clarity on both issues,” said a source in Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEPL), the concessionaire for the 22.7km line.
Both the conditions have left DAMEPL fuming. DAMEPL had already recruited more than 60 retired personnel from Special Protection Group (SPG), National Security Guard (NSG), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Border Security Force (BSF) and more than 100 CISF jawans to provide security all along the line.
A DAMEPL spokesperson said: “We had proposed a security framework using our in-house security experts and private security agencies. However, we understand that the MHA is keen to deploy the CISF along the line. The project is complete and all necessary clearances to start commercial operations including the CMRS sanction have been obtained. The CMRS sanction, however, mentions the approval of a security framework from ministry of urban development and MHA as a prerequisite to start passenger operations.”
Mangu Singh, director (works), DMRC, said: “Government’s approval is the prerequisite for the security matter. It seems that MHA and ministry of Urban Development want CISF to handle security on the network entirely. We are yet to receive a formal letter on this.”
Unhappy with the CMRS’ decision on the speed restrictions, DAMEPL, through DMRC, has already sought approvals from Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) to run trains at a higher speed of 120kmph, as promised earlier. Sources say, RDSO will inspect the service and give a clearance for 120kmph speed if it finds the line safe and satisfactory.
Highly placed sources in the MHA, said: “CISF’s involvement cannot be avoided as far as the security matter in any metro network is concerned as private agencies do not have mandate to carry weapons.”