Millennium Post

Reliance lets Delhi Metro down

Delhi Metro is not happy with the performance of Reliance Infra-operated Airport Express as it feels that the network is being run in a 'commercial manner', but has no inclination to take over the corridor, DMRC chief Mangu Singh said on Wednesday.

Admitting that there have been 'shortcomings' in the operations of the 23-km Express Corridor, he said the business model adopted by the private concessionaire has not worked and that they don't run Metro system like Delhi Metro, which, he said, operates only on the motto of providing service.

In his first interaction with the media after taking over as Delhi Metro Managing Director on 1 January, Singh said the operator has reduced the speed of the trains on the line from the existing 105 kmph to 80 kmph due to safety reasons as there are some technical problems in the track structure.

'Yes, there are many shortcomings and they are not up to our expectations and there is no doubt about that. But there is recession and their business model is really not working,' he said.

Singh, who took over after E Sreedharan retired last year, said the Delhi Metro has always maintained that only government organisations can run passenger railway systems successfully.

The Airport Express Corridor, that connects New Delhi with the IGI Airport, is mainly based on property development, real estate and retail. 'These things are not coming to that level of their expectations. So, there are problems,' he said.

Asked whether the Delhi Metro would take over the Airport Metro Express in case of its failure by invoking a clause in the agreement, he replied in the negative.

'All these clauses in the contract are there. But it cannot be used day in and day out. They are mostly, in the beginning, used as a tool to rectify, tool to correct things.'

Singh also dismissed suggestions that Delhi Metro was 'soft' on Airport Express operator and said a huge amount of money has been levied as penalty on them for not completing the line on time.

'If you see, it would be one of the highest in the history of India,' he said.

Singh said he personally feels that the operators are businessman and since they are in a commercial activity, they don’t run Metro system like DMRC.

'So that is probably the basic difference. Regarding the functioning, we don’t view it 100 per cent as commercial. We don’t do it. Their decisions are based on economical things. They think more frequency means more loss to them. Had it been DMRC, we would have not bothered. We would have gone for five or six minutes of frequency,' he said.

The Delhi Metro chief was responding to questions about the less frequency of trains and what can the organisation do about it.

He said the Delhi Metro should also be cautious when it comes to safety and cannot force the operator to run trains at a certain speed if there are some safety concerns.

'Safety is most important. We cannot force them. So they feel that 80 kmph is good for some particular reason on safety consideration. We will not be able to force them. They have imposed a restriction to impose safety. Then we cannot say—run at this much speed,' he said.
Next Story
Share it