CONSTRUCTION of the north-south underground metro line in Delhi is expected to get under way shortly, following the award of a Rs16·5bn turnkey design-and-build contract on March 20. Delhi Metro Rail Corp has selected a consortium including local firms Larsen & Toubro and Ircon, Dyckerhoff & Widmann of Germany, Samsung Corp of Korea and Shimizu of Japan to build the southern 7 km of Line 1 between ISBT and Central Secretariat. Funded by the Japan Bank for International Co-operation, the job is expected to take five years.

Line 1 will interchange at ISBT with the elevated east-west Line 2 already under construction, and will then run north for a further 4 km to the university at Vishwavidyalya, site of the main depot. Civil works for the first section of Line 2 are more than 70% complete, and the 8·3 km from Shahdara to Tis Hazari is to open on April 1 2002. The rest of the three-line network is due to open in stages by March 31 2005.

DMRC has selected a consortium of Mitsubishi and Koros of Korea as preferred bidder to supply rolling stock. On April 20 a consortium led by Alstom Transport Ltd (India) signed a contract with DMRC for a train control package; other members are Alstom (France), Alcatel Portugal and Sumitomo Corp. n