Delhi Metro orders independent safety audit for Phase II works

July 14th, 2009 - 9:23 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Not wishing to take any chances after an accident claimed six lives Sunday, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) chief E. Sreedharan Tuesday ordered an independent safety audit for all under-construction structures of the Metro’s second phase.
“DMRC managing director E. Sreedharan decided today that all cantilever structures built by Delhi Metro in Phase-II of the project so far will be completely re-checked from safety and quality point of view by independent structural experts,” DMRC spokesperson Anuj Dayal said.

He gave orders for strict safety checks at all under-construction sites, with separate assessment for the pier (pillar) and the pier cap (cantilever), Dayal said.

DMRC has chosen Shirish Patel and Associates for carrying out safety assessment.

In addition, DMRC has decided to appoint B.P. Singh, former general manager of NALCO, who is an expert in heavy structure construction, to inquire into Monday’s mishap during the debris clearing up operations.

Sunday’s pre-dawn accident at a construction site in Zamrudpur in south Delhi, the worst tragedy in the history of Delhi Metro, was followed on Monday by another but minor accident during the clearing of the debris that left six people injured.

Though not directly responsible, Sreedharan, who has earned the renown as India’s “Metro man”, resigned Sunday, taking moral responsibility for the crash in which six people were killed.

He, however, withdrew his resignation Monday after Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Lieutenant Governor Tejender Khanna and Urban Developmenent Minister S. Jaipal Reddy persuaded him to stay on.

The Metro’s Phase II is 125-km long and of it an 11-km stretch has been constructed. The still under construction Phase II includes five lines connecting Yamuna Bank to Anand Vihar and to Noida in the eastern fringes of the national capital; Central Delhi to Gurgaon and Badarpur in the south and Inderlok to Mundka in northwest Delhi.

The company held that prima facie a mechanical snag in one of the four cranes, holding up the collapsed concrete and steel structure, was to blame for Monday’s incident.

The arms of three of the cranes had snapped and one monster crane tilted and stood upside. Around 80 percent of the collapsed structure had fallen to the ground and the remaining portion of the girder is still suspended on the elevated beam.

The 72-metre-long metallic launcher has been lowered to the ground and is being cut into small pieced by 40 gas-cutters.

“About 15 metres of the launcher has been dismantled on ground and is being transported away from the site on trailers. The dismantling of the launcher is likely to be completed tonight or by tomorrow morning,” Dayal said Tuesday.

DMRC engineers will remove the elevated portion by first giving support by metallic trestles and then cut by “diamond-disc concrete cutting machines and core cutting machines”.

After the girder has been safely supported, the operation should be completed in six days, Dayal said. Six cranes are being used at the site for lifting and removing the debris and parts of the launcher from the site.

Delhi Metro operates three hugely popular lines connecting the northern, central, eastern and southwestern parts of Delhi. Around 800,000 commuters use the network daily, covering a total of 190 km.

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