MOTC lays blame at Taipei Metro’s door for Taichung dis­as­ter

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY STEPHANIE CHAO

Min­istry of Trans­porta­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions ( MOTC, ) Min­is­ter Chen Chien-yu ( ) yes­ter­day em­pha­sized Taipei City Mass Rapid Tran­sit Sys­tem’s (Taipei Metro, ) role in Taichung Mass Rail Tran­sit Sys­tem’s (Taichung Metro,

) designing and con­struc­tion, im­ply­ing that Taipei Metro should shoul­der re­spon­si­bil­ity for the con­struc­tion col­lapse that took four lives and in­jured four more.

Chen spoke up dur­ing a leg­isla­tive in­ter­pel­la­tion ses­sion yes­ter­day to quell on­go­ing de­mands for the gov­ern­ment to as­sume re­spon­si­bil­ity for Taichung Metro’s con­struc­tion-site col­lapse last Fri­day amid out­rage to­ward Pre­mier Mao Chi-kuo’s ( ) state­ment that “lo­cal gov­ern­ments should be held re­spon­si­ble,” and crit­i­cism at the gov­ern­ment for en­gag­ing in a “pass the buck” ex­er­cise.

“The Taipei Metro is in charge of Taichung Metro’s con­struc­tion­re­lated is­sues,” Chen said, “The three par­ties are in co­op­er­a­tion as laid out in the ‘tri­par­tite agree­ment’ ( ) , which states a clear di­vi­sion of each party’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, and con­struc­tion progress re­ports are held ev­ery three months.”

The tri­par­tite agree­ment puts Taipei City in charge of de­sign and con­struc­tion, Taichung in charge of land ar­range­ment and the MOTC re­spon­si­ble for fi­nanc­ing the con­struc­tion of the metro sys­tem.

Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party (DPP) Leg­is­la­tor Kuan Bi-ling (

) stated that Taipei Metro had out­sourced con­struc­tion to Far Eastern Con­struc­tion ( ), and that Far Eastern re­quested the gov­ern­ment’s per­mis­sion to bring the start of con­struc­tion for­ward from April 13 to April 10. Yet, the com­pany il­le­gally be­gan con­struc­tion ear­lier on April 10 at 10 a.m., while it was ac­tu­ally sched­uled to begin at 4 p.m. and end at 8 p.m.

Kuom­intang Leg­is­la­tor Lin Kuo-Cheng ( ) also stated that Far Eastern had out­sourced to other down­stream en­ter­prises to carry out the con­struc­tion.

Chen warned that any­one who did not fol­low SOP reg­u­la­tions will be pun­ished and promised that penal­ties will be is­sued once the gov­ern­ment has clar­i­fied the par­ties re­spon­si­ble for the col­lapse.

“Con­struc­tion pro­ce­dures, es­pe­cially lift­ing steel beams, should com­mence dur­ing the night­time to avoid day­time traf­fic and po­ten­tial safety haz­ards,” Chen said, fur­ther say­ing that the gov­ern­ment places safety above all else and they will con­tinue to is­sue no­tices to re­mind re­lated de­part­ments and bureau.

Taichung Metro Over­all Con­struc­tion Be­hind Sched­ule

De­spite Lin’s ac­cu­sa­tions that Taichung Metro was rush­ing the con­struc­tion process, Hu Hsian­glin ( ), direc­tor-gen­eral of the Bureau of High Speed Rail (

), said that in re­al­ity, the Taichung Metro’s over­all con­struc­tion was 9.06 per­cent be­hind sched­ule, but the sec­tion which col­lapsed was the only con­struc­tion site ahead of sched­ule.

Ac­cord­ing to Taipei Metro’s statis­tics for the end of Fe­bru­ary, Taichung Metro’s con­struc­tion progress was only at 59.99 per­cent when it was orig­i­nally sched­uled to have reached 69.05 per­cent.

MOTC will also be pro­vid­ing re­ports about el­e­vated tracks and road con­struc­tion progress this week.

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