Delhi Metro hauled up for poor quality control (Lead)

July 17th, 2009 - 10:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) Close on the heels of the Delhi Metro accident that killed six people, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Friday pulled up the capital’s mass transit system for poor quality management in construction and not completing work within deadlines.
“Audit analysis of quality control indicated scaling down of testing requirements, non-witnessing of tests by the company’s representative, testing of materials (used in construction) in non-accredited laboratories and non-preservation of test reports,” the CAG said in its findings.

The performance audit report on the Delhi Mass Rapid Transport System pertains to 2006-07 - the first phase of the Delhi Metro project.

“Testing requirements were scaled down in four contracts as these contracts were falling behind schedule,” the report said, adding that in one contract, 1,105 piles casts were not tested for “routine lateral load taking” capacity.

The report said that in eight contracts the test conducted by the contractors was accepted without being witnessed by the company’s (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) representatives. “The management’s reply that the tests were witnessed by the company’s representative is not correct as some of the reports did not bear the signature of the company’s representatives.”

Highlighting the responsibility of DMRC, the CAG said: “It was observed that test reports (of those carried) were not preserved. The management stated that it was not possible to keep records of all the tests conducted, as there were millions of tests and once quality was certified… it was not necessary to keep the records of all these tests which would involve additional expenditure.”

“The reply is not tenable because if any instance of failure occurs at a later stage, then the quality certificate of the engineer cannot be reviewed in the absence of test reports,” the CAG report underlined.

The audit authority also said that the examination of 222 tests reports relating to five contracts revealed that “the tests were not conducted in accredited laboratories”.

The report highlighted that contrary to its reputation, DMRC completed three lines in Phase one much after the deadline. The Inderlok-Rithala line scheduled to complete in September 2003 was actually completed in March 2004 - a six month delay.

Similarly, the Connaught Place-Central Secretariat line ended in July 2005 against its deadline of March 2004 - delay of 15 months. The Barakhamba-Indraprastha line too was delayed by 14 months, the audit body found.

The CAG report, which covered 2006-07 fiscal, was presented to the government last year but was not tabled in parliament.

“They (the government) deliberately delayed the tabling of the report on one pretext or the other. There were three sessions of parliament after we submitted the report,” said A.N. Chatterjee, deputy comptroller and auditor general told reporters.

“To hasten the project, quality control procedures were relaxed deliberately,” he said, adding: “If these reports were presented in time, it would have been better as some of it has clear and direct linkage with what we are witnessing today.”

Six workers were killed and 15 others injured when an elevated section of the Delhi Metro track under construction at Zamrudpur in south Delhi collapsed early Sunday morning. The next day, six people were injured at the same spot when three cranes, being used to remove a steel girder that had got inclined, suddenly toppled over.

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