Delhi Metro today took over operations of Airport Express Line, three days after Reliance Infrastructure announced its pull out from the service.
Reliance Infra, which ran the line, blamed the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation's (DMRC) "persistent" failure to cure defects in the civil structure for termination of the concession agreement and claimed termination payment from it.
The Board of Directors of DMRC had met to discuss the letter of Reliance (DAMEPL) dated June 27, intimating that they would stop operating the 22.7 km Airport Line from the night of June 30, and concluded that the notice was in violation of the Concession Agreement and the ongoing arbitration proceedings.
However, the Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL), a Special Purpose Vehicle of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd (RInfra), has said that they terminated the Concession
Agreement with DMRC for the airport metro line nearly 9 months back, vide its notice dated 8th October, 2012.
"The termination clause had to be invoked by DAMEPL, as DMRC had persistently failed to cure the substantial defects in the civil structure designed and built by DMRC, within the
period prescribed under the Concession Agreement, and on account of Material Breach and Event of Default by DMRC arising under the Agreement as a result thereof," a RInfra spokesperson said.
According to the spokesperson, DMRC failed to make alternate arrangements for taking over the operations of the metro line, even after the termination of the Concession Agreement in October last year, adding DAMEPL was compelled to serve a final notice on DMRC to take over the operations with effect from July 1, as it was not possible for them to continue the same indefinitely.
DMRC is now liable to pay DAMEPL a Termination Payment equal to 130 percent of the Adjusted Equity and 100 per cent of the Debt Due for the project, as the termination has arisen owing to DMRC's "Event of Default", the RInfra spokesperson claimed.
"RInfra is confident of recovering its entire investment in DAMEPL," the spokesperson said.
DMRC today took over operations of the Airport Express link with an Operations and Maintenance team of 100 officials to handle the line.
The total ridership of the Airport express line during the peak of its operations was recorded at 21,000 per day.
The metro line was shut down last July after problems arose due to defects in the civil structure, which were later rectified and it resumed operations in January this year.