Even as the Union urban development ministry claimed on Monday that there were no construction flaws when the high-speed airport Metro line opened in February 2010, Reliance Infrastructure, the concessionaire, maintained there were serious faults, which went unnoticed, from day one.
The joint inspection by Indian Railways, Delhi Metro and Reliance Infrastructure of the damaged portions of the 22.7-km high-speed corridor revealed that at least 91% of the bearings in the civil construction (493 of 540 examined in the past week) were found to be defective. However, at a joint press conference called by the UD ministry, Delhi Metro and Reliance Infrastructure on Monday, the differences between the agencies emerged.
Sudhir Krishna, secretary, urban development ministry, said, “There were no defects in the civil construction when the service on the line started in February 2010.” Sumit Banerjee, CEO (infrastructure), Reliance Infrastructure, countered: “There were damages since day one but they went unnoticed. They came to light during our recent annual inspection.”
Meanwhile, the urban development ministry has ordered a proper examination. “Since the magnitude of damage is quite high, it has been ordered to examine all 2,100 bearings,” Krishna said.
The ministry and the Railway board have formed a two-member inquiry committee to identify the responsible person/s or agency and investigate in details. As repair of these defects is likely to take a long time, the August deadline for the re-opening of the high-speed line will be missed, officials said. This means the wait for reopening the line has become indefinite.The concessionaire had suspended the train service from July 8 on the high-speed line after identifying 43% defects in the bearings. But the defects on the civil structure are more serious then what was claimed last week, the report said.