Venakaiah Naidu voices concern over long delays in Safety Clearances for Metro Rail projects

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New Delhi: Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu today expressed concern over delays in according safety clearences for Metro Rail projects resulting in non-utilisation of such projects built with substantial investments. Shri Naidu today reviewed the commissioning of some Metro projects which were completed sometime back and still not put to use for want of safety clearences. Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhu, Chairman of Railway Board, Secretary(Civil Aviation), Secretary(Urban Development), Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety, CMD of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, former CMD of DMRC Shri Sridharan and concerned senior officials participated in the discussions.

Shri Venkaiah Naidu and Shri Suresh Prabhu asserted that metro rail safety can not be compromised but at the same time clearences should not be delayed. Both the ministers called for measures to ensure timely decisions.

Shri Venkaiah Naidu noted that Jaipur Railway has 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 which is still due.

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. Civil Aviation Ministry, the nodal ministry for railway safety Informed that a proposal has been moved for creating two more posts of Commissioners of Metro Safety as against only one at present.

Shri Sridharan has said that there used to be no such delays in respect of Delhi Metro projects under Phases 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. CMD of DMRC Shri 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 has also been discussed. 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, Shri Venkaiah Naidu has asked Shri Sridharan to examine the relevant provisions in detail for giving an opinion for further consideration.

Shri Venkaiah Naidu has asked all the concerned to meet again shortly for firming up the measures to be taken for ensuring timely safety clearences for Metro projects.

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