A temporary construction ban in November when record smog and air pollution shrouded the national capital and its satellite cities may have forced the Delhi Metro’s Heritage Line to miss its Christmas deadline.
The line is not likely to open before January end now, sources said.
Metro officials attributed the delay to the ban on construction activities imposed by the Delhi government from November 6 to 14 to reduce pollution.
“The ban forced contractors to demobilise machinery and manpower, which adversely affected the project. Clearly, it has had an impact on deadlines which is going to be assessed after a review,” a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) official said.
The bulk of Metro construction workers are migrant labourers who are paid daily wages. Most of them headed home as the ban rendered them jobless.
“Machines such as cranes, trailers and generators were taken off sites by the contractors during the ban period. Even after the ban was lifted, work was slow because of material shortage such as segments and slabs as batching plants and casting yards were completely closed,” the Metro official said.
The much-awaited line will provide Metro connectivity to Delhi’s signature landmarks — Dilli Gate, Jama Masjid and Red Fort in the Walled City.
The line was the only part of DMRC’s new Phase III network that was scheduled to be commissioned by the end of this year.
“Dilli Gate, Jama Masjid and Lal Qila stations are ready and systems have been installed. However, an assessment of the overall position at Kashmere Gate will be done sometime in mid-December. Based on the findings of the assessment, we intend to forward the application to the commissioner for Metro rail safety for consideration,” said Anuj Dayal, Metro’s chief spokesperson.
The 5.17km ITO-Kashmere Gate section of Metro’s “Violet Line” is an underground extension of the Escorts Mujesar (Faridabad)-ITO corridor and will have four stations.
Take a look at an old video HT shot inside the metro line under construction