Much to the disappointment of thousands of commuters, Chennai Metro Rail’s phase I extension project that connects the northern parts of the city will be delayed by a month.
While speaking at a meeting on Tuesday, Industries Minister M.C. Sampath said the phase I extension would be ready for public operations in February.
According to sources in Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), one of the main reasons for the delay was the poor pace of construction at a few stations.
“Seems like the construction of two stations, Gowri Ashram and Tondiarpet, will be over only in February,” a source said.
The major hurdle was the contract of IL&FS, one of the key firms in the construction of the Tondiarpet and Sir Theagaraya College stations, had to be terminated, and CMRL had to rope in a new contractor to finish the leftover work.
Though locomotive trial runs had begun, the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety can begin the final inspection only if the contractors finish building the stations.
“This inspection is likely to be done by the first week of February at the earliest. Then we have to make the necessary changes or rectifications and send the documents. The final approval certificate will be issued only if the Commissioner is satisfied wih the arrangements,” another source said.
The construction of the depot at Wimco Nagar would be completed after a month or two, sources said.
For this project, CMRL planned to operate 10 trains, sources said, adding that the frequency would remain unchanged for now since the number of people travelling was far less compared to the pre-COVID-19 times.