However, Delhi Metro wrote to the NMA last week informing that both the institutes have refused to conduct the study citing lack of expertise.
Anuj Dayal, spokesperson of Delhi Metro, said, “Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) and our team of general consultants, comprising American and Japanese experts, are in the process of conducting a social impact assessment. These experts have worked on several international Metro projects that came up in the vicinity of monuments.”
The NMA, however, insisted that a competent organisation such as the IITs should carry out a “structural impact assessment” and look at aspects such as the impact of vibrations during construction of the corridor and also after the line is operational.
Delhi Metro’s ambitious Central Secretariat to Kashmere Gate corridor was among the first projects taken up by the NMA, set up in 2011 to look into projects coming up in the vicinity of protected monuments across the country.
The upcoming corridor, an extension of the Badarpur line, runs into the ‘restricted zone’ of several protected monuments such as Red Fort, Khooni Darwaza, Delhi Gate and Sunehri Masjid.
Pravin Srivastava, member-secretary of NMA, told Newsline, “We had suggested that Delhi Metro should engage institutes like IIT-Delhi or -Roorkee to conduct the study. Both the institutes have done several structural impact studies for the Archaeological Survey of India — one of them being the impact study of aircrafts flying over Qutab Minar.”
Srivastava said a meeting with Delhi Metro officials will be held this week to discuss the issue.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is carrying out preliminary work on the corridor awaiting a final nod from the heritage body.
DMRC Managing Director Mangu Singh said permission is required only for sections that fall within the restricted areas of the protected monuments and that construction work on sections which are beyond the restricted zone can be carried out.
Officials, however, maintained that tunnelling work is done at a stretch and piecemeal construction cannot be done on the underground section.