Has the Delhi Metro been lenient on those responsible for the Zamrudpur accident that led to the death of six persons in July last year?
Despite the four-member inquiry committee holding faulty design and deficiency in the construction material responsible for the structural collapse, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) failed to act against Gammon India, its civil contractor, and its own official responsible for clearing the design.
Calling Rajan Kataria, chief engineer of the design department, “indispensable” , DMRC managing director E. Sreedharan said no agency could have “stepped in and finished the work” had Gammon India been removed from the job.
Sreedharan had resigned after the accident, saying it was his “moral responsibility”, but later withdrew the resignation.
Vijay Anand, director (projects), was, however, repatriated to his parent organisation (railways).
The independent inquiry committee had found the cantilever design that gave way “had not adequately taken care of various forces” and “there was deficiency in provision of steel at critical points and the reinforcement detailing suffered from serious deficiencies.”
Concrete had also failed to meet the “strength criterion by a wide margin”, which possibly occurred due to “lack of curing”, the committee had further observed.
On the recommendation of the committee, Sreedharan had issued a show-cause notice to Gammon India and Arch Consultants (the agency that had prepared the cantilever’s design) and had also issued a “major penalty chargesheet” to Rajan Kataria for approving the faulty designs.
While the DMRC has blacklisted Arch Consultants, Sreedharan said both Gammon India and Kataria have replied to their notices but no decision has been taken on them.
Sreedharan said Gammon India has also replied to the show-cause notice and has argued it appointed Arch Consultant from the list of consultants suggested by the DMRC itself.
“I can also blacklist Gammon... (but) if they go out who will finish the balance work?” Sreedharan said. “The balance work is such that no agency can step in and finish the work... we have not taken a final decision on what kind of penalty has to be imposed on them.”
“I can easily sack Kataria… More than 1,500 structural designs were to be rechecked (after the Zamrudpur accident)… who’s to do it… he’s so indispensable and so good in his work,” Sreedharan added.
“So he is continuing and the amount of work this man has done after that accident… got every structure checked and cleared and then approved designs of new structures… this is something nobody will be able to do it….”
He said the deputy chief engineer of the design department, who was directly responsible for clearing the design, was immediately sacked from the duty.
“The real culprit was Arch Consultants. I don’t know why the police are not acting against them,” Sreedharan said.
Delhi police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said the investigations were on in the case.