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Not lost hope on Delhi's Airport Metro, PPP projects: Official

Posted on Dec 17, 07:50AM | IANS

The government has not yet given up hope on Delhi's Airport Metro project, suspended since July 8 following discovery of structural faults, and also does not feel that a public-private partnership (PPP) model is unsuited for infrastructure projects.

"Problems in the Delhi Metro Airport Express, a PPP model, should not be taken as failure of all such PPP projects in the infrastructure sector," said Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna.

He was speaking at the "Challenges of PPP", a session at the 27th Indian Engineering Congress organised by the Institute of Engineers, here Sunday.

"The urban development ministry is upbeat and positive about the future of PPP models in infrastructure, including the Delhi Metro Airport Express project, which will be soon operational after final nod from the Commissioner for Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) to resume services," Krishna said.

Krishna said measures were being taken to resolve the issue between Delhi Metro and Reliance, the concessionaire of the Airport Metro Express Line, India's first public-private partnership Metro project.

"In the Delhi Metro Airport project, the basic structure has been developed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and superstructure by the Reliance Infrastructure-led consortium. Both are blaming each other... currently issues and modalities are being worked out to resolve the issue," he said.

Services on the Rs.5,700-crore (USD 11.5-billion) project, touted as an urban infrastructure showpiece, were stopped July 8 because of major structural defects. Reliance Infrastructure, which operated the line, said civil defects were noticed from day one of the service.

It is not certain when the line will restart. Launched mainly to ferry people to Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, the 23-km line averaged a daily ridership of 20,000. Around 70 percent commuters were air passengers.

Defending the PPP model in infrastructure sector, Krishna said: "The other PPP projects taken up by the urban development ministry under the urban renewal mission involving solid waste management projects are a roaring success."

"The ministry is presently working on management of construction and demolition waste policy. This will help in reducing number of landfills."

Krishna also stressed that the PPP should not be equated with privatisation.

"The government body should not feel that they have no accountability towards implementation and overseeing of the PPP," he added.