Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Metro may take time to come on track

Metro may take time to come on track
S Praveen Dhaneshkar, Bangalore, Nov 30, DH News Service:

With the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) now being named the prime consultant for the 'Namma Metro' project, further delays in the completion of the project seems inevitable.


A top DMRC official told Deccan Herald it could recommend a rethink in some of the key decisions already taken by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), including a possible change in the alignment on the Vidhana Soudha stretch.

However, this could take a couple of months as the DMRC will first have to prepare the terms of reference on the nitty-gritty of the consultancy offered.

The BMRCL board recently took the decision to have DMRC expertise on the day-to-day working of the project.

The official added that some decisions implemented by the BMRCL could be looked into afresh.

These include a possible re-advice on the underground (UG) alignment at Dr B R Ambedkar Veedhi and going in for stretch-specific technology to bring down the high costs involved in the award of tenders.

“The DMRC has since the beginning been against the aligning of the Bangalore Metro in front of the Vidhana Soudha and the high court for three reasons — security considerations, safety of structures and the high cost involved in the UG stretch. While preparing the detailed project report (DPR) in 2003, it was recommended to have the UG station at Dr B R Ambedkar Veedhi in front of where the Vikasa Soudha multistoreyed buildings stand.

“We had factored issues such as security as prime consideration against having it there. If the original alignment had been adhered to, the BMRCL would have also saved Rs 1000 crore in the UG stretch. It is for the BMRCL to accept or reject it,” said the official.

It has also been learnt from top sources that the DMRC is of the view that while Reach-1 would be completed as per the deadline (December 2010), it is impossible for the BMRCL to complete the entire Phase-1 by September 2012.

“It would be extremely difficult for the BMRCL to complete the entire project on time. The UG stretch takes time. The ground below the Minsk Square at GPO circle is of hard rock variety, while that at Ambedkar Veedhi is a bit softer. While awarding the UG tender, the BMRCL will have to pay more for using tunnel boring machine (TBM) at both the places, despite the difference in UG rock structure. This takes the cost up. All this has to be considered first,” added the official.

The prime consultancy role of the DMRC could see increased scrutiny on major decisions already taken and suggest measures to rectify them wherever necessary, besides giving advice for future decisions, safety standards to be adopted during construction design and procurement of coaches, laying of tracks, electrification, signalling and overseeing project progress.

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