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Naidu concerned at delays in safety nod to Metro projects

Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday expressed concern over delays in according safety clearances to Metro Rail projects. He was reviewing the commissioning of some Metro projects which were completed sometime back but have still not been put to use for want of safety clearances.

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, Chairman of Railway Board, Secretaries of Civil Aviation and Urban Development, Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety, CMD of DMRC, former CMD Sridharan and senior officials participated in the discussions.

Naidu and Prabhu asserted that Metro rail safety cannot be compromised but at the same time clearances should not be delayed. Both the ministers called for measures to ensure timely decisions. Naidu noted that the Jaipur Railway had sought safety clearance as early as in August 2014 and is yet to be given the clearance. Similarly, Chennai Metro has sought rolling stock clearance in August, 2014 whichis still due.

Sridharan said at the meeting there used to be no such delays in respect of Delhi Metro projects under Phases I and II and the problem has arisen after the amendments to the Metro Railways Act in 2009 resulting in too much of micro-management of safety issues. DMRC CMD Mangu Singh gave details of some such instances and stipulations in respect of Metro projects which were not being applied for railway lines.

The issue of safety certification for Mandi House – ITO section of Delhi Metro was also discussed at the meeting. The Commissioner of Railway Safety was of the view that single-line sections can’t be made functional while the DMRC took the stand that there was no such restriction in the Act. In view of the differences in interpretation of the Act, Naidu asked Sridharan to examine the relevant provisions in detail for giving an opinion for further consideration.