Centre to form separate Safety Certification Agency for rapid expansion Metro Rail projects

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New Delhi: Plagued with delay in getting safety clearances, government is exploring possibilities for a separate safety certification agency for Metro projects, with Railways supporting the move.

Government has also roped in former DMRC Chairman E Sreedharan to examine the stalemate over the safety certification for Mandi House-ITO section of Delhi Metro and has sought his opinion on the issue.

Expressing concern over delays in according safety clearances for Metro rail projects, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today asserted that delays are resulting in non-utilisation of such projects built with substantial investments.

In a review meeting of Metro projects along with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, both maintained that safety cannot be compromised but at the same time there should not be delays in getting clearances.

Besides Prabhu, Chairman of Railway Board, Civil Aviation Secretary, Urban Development Secretary, Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety, MD of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, former MD of DMRC Sreedharan and concerned senior officials attended the meeting.

During the discussions, it transpired that on account of rapid expansion of Metro rail services in the country, there was a need for a separate Safety Certification Agency for Metro projects and the same should be examined in detail.

Chairman of Railway Board stated that Railway Ministry would have no objection for creating such a mechanism.

The issue of safety certification for Mandi House-ITO section of Delhi Metro was discussed in the meeting.

Commissioner of Railway Safety was of the view that single line sections can’t be made functional while DMRC took the view that there was no such restriction in the Act.

In view of the differences in interpretation of the Act, Naidu has asked Sreedharan to examine the relevant provisions in detail for giving an opinion for further consideration.

Sreedharan said there used to be no such delays in respect of Delhi Metro projects under Phase I and II and the problem has risen further to the amendments to the Metro Railways Act in 2009 resulting in too much of micro-management of safety issues causing delays.

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