The resignation of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s director (projects and planning) Kumar Keshav on Wednesday couldn’t have come at a worse time for the organisation. Keshav is the third project director to have left DMRC in the past five years.
The proportion of officials — mostly middle- and senior-level engineers — leaving the DMRC every four years has been rising steadily since 2004.
A senior DMRC official said India has few technical people with core competence in handling Metro projects. “Delhi Metro is the only training ground. There’s only the Shanghai Metro to compare with Delhi in terms of technology and manpower training but the Chinese have the language handicap. So, our engineers are in demand not only in the private sector in India but also across the world,” he said.
Keshav’s departure comes at a time when the DMRC has started work on phase 3, which will add 120 km to the Metro network by 2016. This phase is the most challenging and complicated since the DMRC’s inception in 1998, sources said.
“The person (Keshav) who created the blueprint of phase 3 and was getting clearances from different agencies to carry out the civil work is going just as we have embarked on this difficult project. This has created a crisis of leadership," another official said.
Keshav has been tight-lipped about his new assignment but sources said he could be joining a metro project in Austria. DMRC chief spokesperson Anuj Dayal said, “Keshav will leave office on May 31. So, we have enough time to find his replacement. The process will start soon.”