City’s dream of riding in the much-awaited Metro Rail will take a while longer with work at Koyambedu station yet to be completed. | EPS
Your wait for checking out the first Metro Rail train could get longer as the company that is building the infrastructure has been slapped with a termination notice because of deadline slippage.
The stretch between Koyambedu and St Thomas Mount was scheduled to be opened by June-July this year. That may not happen at least till September-October since Chennai Metro Rail (CMRL) sent a termination notice to cash-strapped Consolidated Construction Consortium Limited (CCCL), the builder, around a week ago.
While CMRL cited inordinate delay in construction of railway stations on the elevated stretch in its notice, CCCL officials maintained that they have sent a notice demanding additional payment before starting work.
According to a senior Metro Rail official, “We paid CCCL Rs 50 crore in advance in different installments during the last one year, but the progress in work has been poor, so we served the notice.” CCCL’s underperformance has shifted the calendar for the trial run as well.
While the initial plan was to have it by this month-end, a Metro Rail spokesman agreed that the trial run may not be possible before next month.
CCCL’s underperformance could be seen from the perspective of the general slowdown in the construction sector because of adverse macro-economic conditions. However, Metro Rail officials see no reason why they should bail out CCCL and release more money. “If we have to pay them money then why are we terminating their contract?” an official reasoned.
CMRL had awarded tenders worth Rs 224.53 crore to CCCL to design and construct 10 elevated stations. While some construction happened at Koyambedu, CMBT, Arumbakkam, Vadapalani, Ekkatuthangal, Ashok Nagar, Alandur and Sidco, no significant work has been done in Little Mount, Guindy and Officers Training Academy stations on the elevated stretch. Besides, work at Koyambedu, CMBT, Arumbakkam, Vadapalani, Ekkkatuththangal, Alandur and Ashok Nagar is moving at a snail’s pace, officials said. In all, about 70 per cent of the work has been completed.
If the contract gets terminated, Metro Rail officials say they will have to find a new builder besides asking CCCL to provide all the designs and drawings. “This will take time,” he said.