DMRC rejects Reliance Infra notice to terminate contract on Airport Metro Line

DMRC rejects Reliance Infra notice to terminate contract on Airport Metro Line

By Anupam Chakravartty
Published: Wednesday 31 October 2012

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has rejected a notice issued by Reliance Infra on termination of contract between the two on the Rs 5,800 crore, Delhi Airport Metro Express Line (DAMEL), shut since July for repairs. The notice was issued last week by Reliance Infra's subsidiary company, Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL), responsible for operating the metro rail corridor that connects Dwarka and New Delhi Railway Station to Indira Gandhi International Airport. 

According to the public relations office of DMRC, issues raised by DAMEPL regarding financial non-viability of the project  and also their request of re-structuring has been rejected. “On request of DAMEPL the dispute is now being referred to arbitration,” states DMRC director, Mangu Singh. DAMEPL officials say they sent the termination notice because it is turning to be financially non-viable. “The passenger forecast for the DAMEL was 40,000 persons a day, while till the line was closed, there were only 20,000 passengers on the Airport Metro Express Line. Based on such forecast, financials for these projects was planned. It is clear now that financials for these projects, especially share of revenue and fees to DMRC needs to be revised. If we do not reach a consensus during the arbitration, we will terminate the project,” says a DAMEPL official, on the condition of anonymity as the matter is sub judice. 

Reliance Infra spokesperson, however, added that DAMEPL is ready to run the metro rail after the safety checks. “The termination notice was issued because of our differences in sharing the financial benefits of the project. We are planning to start the service after November 14 after necessary trial runs for which a safety certificate would be issued by Metro Railway Design and Safety Organisation (RDSO).” 

Earlier, DAMEPL had alleged most of the bearings had developed cracks, making it difficult for the metro service to run between New Delhi Railway Station and IGI Airport. While, from the beginning DAMEPL and DMRC have been accusing each other for delaying the operations for the Airport Metro Line and both the parties have claimed compensation from each other for causing delays in execution of the project. 

Within 18 months of operation since February 2011, the line had to shut down as DAMEPL pointed out cracks in the construction to DMRC as early as September, 2011. DMRC allegedly did not allow DAMEPL to stop the operations while asking them to run the trains at a lower speed. According to DAMEPL, delays in starting the line and then faults in the construction followed by less number of passengers led to losses, as DAMEPL failed to attract retailers for the stations as well as for advertisements.



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