Japanese Engineer Recounts Subway Project in New Delhi


New Delhi, Dec. 28 (Jiji Press)--A Japanese engineer involved in a project to construct a subway system in the metropolitan area of New Delhi, the capital of India, that first opened 20 years ago recounted her experience, saying that safety awareness among people on the ground “has changed dramatically” through the project.

Reiko Abe, 59, now chairperson of the Indian unit of Tokyo-based Oriental Consultants Global Co., was dispatched to the South Asian nation in 2007 to join the second phase of the Delhi Metro subway project. As a tunnel engineer, Abe was in charge of supervising the project, which was partly financed by low-interest yen loans from the Japanese government.

The project’s first phase was launched in 1998, and at the time, workers at the construction site did not wear helmets or safety shoes. “Things that are commonplace in Japan were not commonplace (in India),” Abe recalls, adding that sloppy work was often seen.

She tried to change the situation, starting with the creation of rules not allowing workers without safety equipment on the construction site.

The fatal collapse of a viaduct at the Delhi Metro construction site in 2009 made her aware of the need for taking stronger measures to ensure workers’ safety. As a result of seeking cooperation from Kobe University professor Shinichi Akutagawa, Abe introduced a system to assess the danger of structures at the construction site in real time and alert workers using LEDs. The color-based visual alert system was adopted because there were illiterate workers.

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