Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cutting Construction Costs Led to Delhi Metro Safety Lapse

Safety conventions were bypassed to cut construction costs in the second phase of building the Delhi metro, where a major accident took place on Sunday, said Saugata Roy, minister of state in India's Ministry of Urban Development.

In the first phase of building the Delhi metro, the design was done by metro operator Delhi Metro Rail Corp. and its consultants. Construction was carried out by separate contractors, the minister said on a television panel Monday evening. But "that was given up in phase two mainly to save money," said Mr. Roy and the design and construction were done by the same company.

"Now this accident has happened," Mr. Roy said, "we'll have to rethink whether the same people should be designers and contractors."

The Ministry of Urban Development is responsible for urban transport, among other things. The minister's comments come after a bridge under construction in the south of the city for the second phase of the Delhi metro collapsed, killing six. Then, a crane involved in cleaning up the site collapsed Monday, further heightening fears about this key Indian infrastructure project.

Sudhir Vohra, an architect and expert in urban law, said mixing the roles of design and construction to save money in the metro construction was a big mistake. "If that's not a safety standard, what is?" Mr. Vohra said in an interview.

In the second phase, Mumbai-based construction company Gammon India Ltd. was responsible for both design and construction. A spokesman for Gammon said Tuesday the company hadn't cut corners. "We are not compromising on any safety standards, because safety is of prime importance to us, and always we carry out the work as per the highest standards of quality and safety, in accordance with the laid out norms," the spokesman said. Delhi Metro is conducting an inquiry into Sunday's accident.

1 comments:

Rajiv said...

Due to metro construction at inderlok, my car front glass broken. Metro says its not our fault, the work is given to contractor.

There is no safety on road, traffic passing and construction going above the main road.