Reliance Infrastructure-led Delhi Airport Metro Express will close down from Sunday for an unspecified period, apparently due to some cracks in the civil structure and technical problems.
The country's first public-private-partnership metro project has had a tumultuous journey in the past 16 months after it began operations in February, 2011.
"The Delhi Metro has received a communication from the concessionaire this evening that they intend to stop services from Sunday", Delhi Metro spokesman Anuj Dayal said.
However, he did not give any reason why Reliance Infrastructure took the extreme step of closing down the Metro services for an unspecified period.
The Reliance Infrastructure-led company is understood to be suffering losses as it was not able to reach its intended targets in terms of profit and ridership. However, there was no word from the concessionaire.
Sources said the decision to close down the line was taken after cracks were found in the construction of civil structure. A team from the Indian Railways, Delhi government and Ministry of Urban Development had visited the Line and suggested that it be closed down till the repair work was done.
They insisted that the decision to close down was taken only due to the safety aspect. Union Urban Development Ministry, the nodal agency for Metro projects, is likely to come out with an official response today.
Efforts made by PTI to reach Reliance Infra officials failed. It is understood that the company would come out with a public notice today, specifying the reasons for its step.
Dayal said the Delhi Metro would be asking them to intimate the date by which they would be resuming services after carrying out the rectifications required on the line.
The Line has also been encountering several technical problems and was not able to run the trains at the promised speed of 120kmph. While it ran at 105 kmph in the beginning, the speed was brought down to 90 kmph a few months back.
The high-speed metro corridor connects the city centre of Connaught Place with the swanky Terminal-3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport in just 18 minutes.
The Airport Express Metro currently has a ridership of over 15,000 passengers a day.
Ever since the Airport Metro was opened to public, the Delhi Metro has been very vocal in criticising it and its former chief E Sreedharan had even once threatened to take over the Line if Reliance Infra did not improve on a number of aspects within a limited period.
The Airport Metro has not been able to attract the number of commuters it intended to in the past one year.