Official auditor flays Delhi Metro’s quality control

July 17th, 2009 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) Five days after a mishap at the Delhi Metro site claimed six lives, India’s official auditor Friday said it had found some glaring flaws in the quality control systems adopted by the state-run company.
Officials at the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s (CAG) office said there was also a departure from established norms in the bidding process to choose the contractors for the project.

The performance audit report on the Delhi Mass Rapid Transport System pertains to 2006-07 - the first phase of the Delhi Metro project - and 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, at a news conference here.

“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.

According to the audit report, the Delhi Metro needed to evolve a mechanism for testing all materials through accredited laboratories. It said accountability issues should not be placed at unreasonable risk in the interests of expediency.

“Audit analysis of quality control indicated scaling down of testing requirements, non-witnessing of tests by the company’s representatives, testing of material in non-accredited laboratories and non-preservation of test reports,” the report said.

“The company has not prepared a corporate plan to chart out its goals and strategies for achievement of business development, diversification, technology upgradation, and customer satisfaction.”

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