Chennai Metro works in Limbo as Russian Co. vanishes overnight without paying dues to Contractors

Chennai (MAS): Work on the metro rail network in the city has run into trouble as the works of Chennai Metro Rail on the Parrys-Saidapet line was in a state of impasse for the 20th consecutive day, after the sub-contractors stopped work, protesting that the Russian company had not paid them nearly INR 30 Crore and vanished overnight.

Building of tunnels under Anna Salai has come to a standstill after Mosmetrostroy, the Russian company which was working in a joint venture with Gammon India, abandoned work. This will further delay the project in which underground lines are supposed to be completed by end of this year.

Sources said the Russian firm is suspected to have walked out of the project. The staff have abandoned the equipment and left. and the Contractors who supplied material and equipment to the company have staged protest in front of the CMRL headquarters in Koyambedu demanding that the state government pay the 29 crore due to them from Mosmetrostroy.

The joint venture is building tunnels and underground stations from Government Estate to Saidapet in a contract worth Rs.1,947 Crore. Mosmetrostroy was tasked with building tunnels because of its technological knowhow, while Gammon is building underground stations.

Angry members of Chennai Vendors Association beseiged the CMRL office on Monday and submitted a formal complaint to the senior officials charging that Mosmetro India, the Indian arm of the Russian firm, owed them Rs.28.65 crore. Protestors said two Russian officials from Mosmetro India, in-charge of the work, absconded on April 30.

A local supplier to the company who was part of the protest, said that formal complaints to CMRL and city police failed to bring about any action. He added that the protests would continue until CMRL took action. This issue of non-payment of dues was something that the vendors faced for over two years, he added.

Another supplier claimed a letter had been sent to the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Chennai on May 13 to apprise them of the development. But they were yet to hear from the Russian officials.

Mosmetro India has not issued any statements or responded on the matter.

A senior Chennai Metro Rail Ltd official said, “Around 70% of the tunnelling work has been completed on the stretch. We have issued notices to Mosmetrostroy and Gammon and have also contacted the Russian Consulate. Gammon may have to take up the work. We may have to ask other foreign companies involved in tunnel work for other contractors to chip in.”

More than 90% of the work between Saidapet and Gemini was completed and the process of building twin tunnels from LIC to Thousand Lights was on.

Shanghai Urban Construction Group of China and Transtonnelstroy of Russia are working in the city for L&T and Afcon Infrastructure respectively. The Chinese company has completed its work.