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DMRC’s Diwali gift

New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANS) More than three months after it was shut down due to safety concerns, the Airport Metro Express line in the capital is expected to resume operations before Diwali (Nov 13), a top Delhi Metro official said Saturday.

"Repair work on the Airport Metro Express line is almost over. We have to get the safety clearances and expect the line to be operational before Diwali," Mangu Singh, managing director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), told reporters at a function here.

The Airport Metro Express line, India’s first public-private partnership Metro project, suspended its services July 8 after structural faults were detected.

As part of the agreement, on which the line was to be operated, DMRC was to carry out civil works and a Reliance Infrastructure-led consortium was to operate the line for 30 years and share the revenue.

Mangu Singh said that the Reliance Infrastructure has served a notice to terminate its concession agreement with DMRC.

"They (Reliance Infrastructure) have given a notice to terminate the concession agreement, but Delhi Metro has rejected it," he said.

On the request of Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEPL), the dispute has now been referred to arbitration.

"The issue of termination of the concession agreement is disputed and the same has been referred for resolution through arbitration proceedings," a DMRC statement said.

It added that DAMEPL would run the airport line services during the pending resolution of the dispute.

The Rs.5,700-crore airport line was shut down after concerns were raised on serious defects in piers, pier caps, bearings and girders on the 23-km elevated corridor that carried about 20,000 commuters daily from New Delhi Railway Station to the Indira Gandhi International Airport and Dwarka Sector 21.

The urban development ministry had set up a committee comprising officials from the Indian Railways, Delhi Metro and Reliance Infrastructure to look into the nature of the defects.


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