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Delhi Airport Metro line services suspended from Sunday, to hit commuters

The popular Delhi Airport Metro Express Line, used by over 15,000 commuters daily, will be suspended for unspecified period owing to major civil defect.

BT Online Bureau | July 7, 2012 | Updated 12:49 IST

Sixteen months after it opened, the popular Delhi Airport Metro Express Line will be suspended for unspecified period after 11 pm on Saturday owing to "major civil defect." Over 15,000 commuters use the Airport Express metro line daily.

The Reliance Infrastructure operated metro line will be shut for an unspecified from Saturday.

"The Airport Metro Express Line has a major civil structure defect. Most of the piers of the line have developed cracks. It will take over couple of weeks for the line to be operational," an informed source said Saturday.

Over 15,000 passengers commute daily on the 23-km line with six stations, which covers the distance between the New Delhi railway station and the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport in 18 minutes.

"The airport metro services will be discontinued due to safety concerns. A thorough safety check will be carried out before the line gets operational," the source added.

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

According to informed sources, a high-level meeting was held last week between the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and Indian Railways regarding the civil defects in the high-speed metro line.

"The Reliance Infra-led consortium laid only the tracks and it was DMRC which built the structure. Thus, the responsibility for the defects lies with DMRC and the government and not the Reliance Infra which only operates the line," the source added.

As per the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, on which the line was to be constructed and operated, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) was to carry out the civil work and Reliance Infrastructure was to operate the line for 30 years and share the revenues.

DMRC in a statement said: "Metro Express Line intends to stop services from Sunday. We would be asking them to intimate the date by which they would be able to resume services after carrying out the rectifications required on the line."

The country's first Metro network based on a Public Private Partnership model, covers six stations -- New Delhi railway station, Shivaji Stadium, Dhaula Kuan, Delhi Aero City, IGI airport and Dwarka Sec-21.

Built at a cost of Rs 5,700 crore, the line is used by thousands of commuters - over 70 per cent of them airport-bound.

With IANS inputs

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