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