We never thought kites, nests would trip overhead wires, says E Sreedharan

Written by Sumegha Gulati | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 25 2014, 14:13pm hrs
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) reportedly never anticipated that peculiarities relevant only to India would lead to major disruptions in its Overhead Electrical (OHE) transmission wires, causing regular snags on its various lines.

In the past two months, at least four such incidents have been reported in the city, where Metro service was disrupted and commuters left stranded due to OHE snags. Most of these snags were reported from the Blue Line (Dwarka to Noida/Vaishali).

Speaking to Newsline, former DMRC chief and the man behind Delhi Metro, E Sreedharan said while conceptualising the plans for various routes of the transport mode, the team never anticipated the difficulties it is facing today with respect to OHE wires.

We never expected foreign objects would fall on the line and get stuck in them, disrupting train movement. Kite-flying is a dangerous aspect, peculiar only to India. Kites getting stuck in OHE wires can lead to short-circuiting. Similarly, we never anticipated that nesting of birds would be an issue but later, we realised it is posing a problem. No other country had faced such problems, so we never really expected them to crop up in India. But now that the problems are there, we have to attend to it. DMRC has the necessary expertise to deal with such situations, Sreedharan said.

Over 8 lakh commuters were stranded for over one-and-half hours on Saturday afternoon after two of the routes on Blue Line stopped working due to a technical error. DMRC officials had confirmed that technical lapse was caused in two loops Kirti Nagar to Noida/Vaishali and Subhash Nagar to Dwarka due to a foreign material getting entangled in the OHE wires near Rajouri Garden station following a thunderstorm.

Luckily, it was a weekend, so the ridership was less compared to over 10 lakh travellers, who commute every day from West Delhi to other parts on weekdays.

Similarly, on June 4, Metro services on the same line were affected for over two hours after an OHE wire snapped between Dwarka and Dwarka Mor stations. Normalcy was restored on the line only at night, at around 9.15 pm.

The May 30 thunderstorm in the city had also led to thousands of commuters being stranded as services of the Delhi Metro were disrupted for over an hour. The wires had got entangled, leading to a power blackout. Flying tin sheets and pipes had also got entangled in the overhead power cables at Janakpuri and Inderlok, disrupting services.

The Blue Line was the worst affected route. Passengers on the Yellow Line, between Jahangirpuri and Huda City Centre, were also stranded.

At present, almost all of the lines being operated by DMRC have at least some portion of the route overground.

Thus, the problem of OHE transmission lines snapping or suffering technical problems due to interference of foreign objects is important. Because, the problem is not exclusive to just one route, a DMRC official said on condition of annonymity.