Wed, Dec 27, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Rail defects dealt with appropriately, MOTC official says

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The major defects found in the high-speed rail system as outlined by a dismissed inspection committee were corrected before the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) was given official permission to begin operating, an official said yesterday.

"We will prepare a report [on how the defects were rectified] within one week and mail that report to the inspection committee members," Vice Minister of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) Ho Nuan-hsuen (何煖軒) said.

Ho made the remarks while being questioned by a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers regarding the safety of the new rail system.

The high speed rail inspection committee concluded its inspection report on Nov. 28, saying that six conditions needed to be met before the rail system could become operational.

Among those conditions was the need to address 33 major defects found in the system.

Barred

After their dismissal, committee members were barred from participating in the test run or from taking part in the meeting that was held after the test to review the defects.

The MOTC issued the go-ahead for the train on Sunday upon approval by Lloyd's Register Rail and three Japanese consultants.

Pan-blue lawmakers alleged that the MOTC had shunned the inspection committee.

No disclosure

On Dec. 20, the convenor of the inspection committee, Lin Zone-ching (林榮慶), issued a statement in which he accused the THSRC of refusing to disclose how it intended to deal with the deficiencies that had been discovered by the committee.

"The fact that the inspection committee was unable to ascertain that the 33 defects that it had identified were dealt with appropriately is cause for concern," KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said.

Ho said that the MOTC and the three Japanese consultants determined on Dec. 24 that the 33 deficiencies had been addressed appropriately.

"I take full responsibility for issuing the green light for the high-speed rail, because it is my duty," Ho told KMT lawmakers.

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