From conceptualising the biggest-ever project of adding 136 kilometers to the city’s Metro network in 2010, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is now in the final leg of its ambitious Phase 3 project. But the journey so far has not been a smooth one, if you ask DMRC chief Mangu Singh.
From arriving at several dead-ends due to land hurdles to mediating between contractors, Singh has done it all. Speaking to HT, he recalls the challenging times when portions of the Phase 3 project landed back to the drawing board and how the DMRC salvaged the crisis on different occasions.
Kalindi Kunj Depot
The depot which will be the only one to feed the whole of Magenta line (Botanical garden-Janakpuri West) was delayed by 18 months due to land acquisition issues. “By the time we received the land from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the deadline had overshot by a year. But worse was yet to come and people who previously had the land before the DDA took over moved court seeking compensation under the new Land Acquisition Act. We were in serious problem,” Singh said.
The mass transporter, instead, decided to build the depot on whatever land was available and went vertical which escalated the cost. “So, we decided to build the depot vertically. The ground level was made the workshop where trains will be brought in and commissioned. On top of that, we created a huge 60 metre x 1.4 km deck for the stabling yard. That’s how we absorbed the delay,” he added.
This station on the Pink Line (Mukundpur-Shiv Vihar) faced a similar problem when the land allotted to DMRC by DDA had to be returned as few people had already managed to get a stay from the High Court on the matter.
“When our contractor went to begin work on the land, they were stopped. Everyone suggested that the Ashram station be dropped. However, I shrugged them off. We went to the Delhi government for help, but it said it couldn’t as the land was disputed. We were in a fix as in such situation as we could neither directly mediate nor go to the court,” the DMRC managing director said.
After three weeks of back-to-back meetings, the corporation redesigned the station without the land. “We dug deeper and added a third level to the station to adjust the space constraint. I am sure any other organisation would have waited for years to get the court case cleared. But we wriggled out of trouble in 6-7 months,” Singh said.
Lal Quila Station
Part of the Heritage Line (ITO-Kashmere Gate) construction of this station came to a standstill due to a feud between the contractor and subcontractor.
“The contractor wasn’t paying his dues to the latter. The subcontractor went to court against the contractor. In normal scenario, the DMRC had no role to play. But we immediately went to court as our work was getting affected. The HC ruled in our favour and ordered that the MD DMRC would mediate between the two parties. And that’s how work was back on track,” he said.