Reliance Infra exits airport Metro

New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) Reliance Infrastructure Monday said it has exited the 23-km airport Metro operation and the takeover of its operations by Delhi Metro Rail Corp (DMRC) has been completed.

"Delhi Airport Metro Express, a special purpose vehicle of Reliance Infrastructure, had terminated the concession agreement with the DMRC for the Delhi airport Metro line nearly nine months back, in a notice issued in October 2012," the company said.

"Despite the lapse of nine months and repeated requests, DMRC failed to make alternate arrangements for taking over the operations of the Metro line, even after the termination," it said in a statement.

"As a result, Delhi Airport Metro Express was compelled to serve a final notice on DMRC once again to take over the operations with effect Monday, as it was not possible for DAMEPL to continue the same indefinitely."

Reliance Infrastructure-led Delhi Airport Metro Express had written a letter on June 27 expressing its inability to continue operations from the night of June 30. But the board of directors of Delhi Metro said the notice was in violation of the concession agreement and the ongoing arbitration proceedings.

Reliance Infra said the termination clause had to be invoked as DMRC had persistently failed to cure the substantial defects in the civil structure designed and built by it within the period prescribed period.

"As per the terms of the concession agreement, DMRC is now liable to pay Delhi Airport Metro Express a termination payment equal to 130 percent of the adjusted equity and 100 percent of the debt due for the project, as the termination has arisen owing to DMRC's event of default."

"As legally advised, Delhi Airport Metro Express' claims for the termination payment are fully justified and enforceable, and Reliance Infrastructure is confident of recovering its entire investment in Delhi Airport Metro Express," the statement said.

The airport Metro line was built at a cost of Rs.5,700 crore ($1.2 billion at the then exchange rate) as a public-private project. DMRC had constructed the structure and a consortium led by Reliance Infra was to operate and maintain the line for 30 years.

A few months after the line came into existence, some serious defects were allegedly found in the structure Metro corridor. As a result, operations had to be suspended for a few months in 2012.

The airport Metro ferries over 15,000 people daily on the 23-km network. Some 70 percent of the travellers head to and from the airport.

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