Airport Metro to remain shut till late August (Lead)

July 7th, 2012 - 4:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) The Delhi Metro Airport Express, which will suspend operations Saturday night after major construction defects were detected, will reopen only in late August, an official said.

The Airport Metro, which ferries over 15,000 people daily on the 23-km network, covers the distance between the New Delhi railway station and the Indira Gandhi International Airport in 18 minutes.

According to informed sources, major defects in the line have led to the piers on which the tracks are placed developing cracks.

“We have to stop the service for commuter safety,” said Sudhir Krishna, secretary in the ministry of urban development.

Indian Railways, Delhi Metro Rail Corp (DMRC) and Reliance Infrastructure will be part of the safety check.

As part of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, on which the line was to be operated, DMRC was to carry out civil works while Reliance Infrastructure was to operate the line for 30 years and share the revenue.

“We have full confidence the line will be restored after a month,” said Krishna.

In a recent inspection, the Reliance Infrastructure-led consortium found that 250 of the 2,100 bearings (concrete structures on top of pillars on which the girders rest) on the elevated corridors were shaky.

Meanwhile, Delhi government chief secretary P.K. Tripathi said passengers can go for other means of transport for connectivity.

Built at a cost of Rs.5,700 crore ($1.2 billion at the exchange rate then), 70 percent of those using the line are headed to the airport.

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