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Brand Metro - Delhi Metro
Oct 29 2011 (23:23)
News Entry# 43760 Brand Metro
Posted by: rdb*^ Added by: rdb*^ Oct 29 2011 (23:23)
Three days after Bangalore got its ‘Namma Metro’ on October 20, over 45,000 commuters spent their Sunday queuing up at the MG Road station between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. for a joy ride. For a 6.7-km section that had anticipated a daily peak ridership of 30,000 commuters a day, extra police deployment had to be ensured to manage the crowd—a repeat of Delhi Metro’s inaugural run nearly nine years ago. It was the Christmas of 2002 when Delhi Metro’s 8.5-km-long Shahdara to Tis Hazari corridor first opened, attracting 1.2 lakh commuters on the opening day. A line that was designed to handle 20,000 commuters a day saw such pressure that extra police had to be deployed to restrict entry into the stations for the first week.Over the last decade, the country has got two new Metros and at least ten more cities are expected to get one in the coming...
decade. Though riddled with issues of land acquisition, fund crunch, red tapism and lack of coordination among agencies, these other cities with planned Metro systems take their inspiration from Delhi Metro’s success story.From the time the idea of Delhi Metro was first mooted, it took 32 years for the Capital to get its Metro system, a period which saw several defining shifts in urban transport planning. Proposals of revamping the Ring Railway, developing a 10 km tramway and 200 km of light rail transit system were all considered in great detail, paving way for further transport demand studies. It was finally in 1990 that the Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES), a government transport planning body, submitted a feasibility report recommending a three-component system comprising rail corridors, metro corridors and a dedicated bus way with a total length of 184.5 km, subsequently increased to 198.5 km.Following this, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited was registered on May 3, 1995, under the Companies Act, 1956.
How Delhi got its Metro
Within the next three years, the Union Cabinet approved Phase 1 of the Delhi Metro, a Managing Director was appointed, who in turn hand-picked the entire team, senior officials sent out to study Metro systems across the globe to identify the most suitable option for Delhi, the initial sanctioned routes subsequently re-worked and work on the ground initiated—all done with a speed not often seen in India.Former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian gives all the credit to Delhi Metro’s Managing Director Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, who has since come to be known simply as the Metro Man.“The Railways wanted a serving railway officer for the post, the Government of India wanted an IAS officer as its nominee and the state government was proposing its own person for the job...I had heard of Sreedharan’s work of completing the Konkan railway project on time in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. I had never seen him before—I have not met him till today—and neither had we spoken on the phone. Yet, I sponsored Sreedharan for the post, after making inquiries and learning that he was a no-nonsense man and would not brook any intervention from anyone...As events have proved, he was the ideal choice for the Metro of such a highly political place as Delhi,” writes Subramanian in his book Journeys Through Babudom and Netaland—Governance in India.On his first day at work, Sreedharan, 79, fixed his own deadline. “I was given a 10-year deadline but when I sat with my team, we decided that the longer the duration of construction, the more hassles residents in the city would have to face. We fixed a seven-year deadline and met that in seven years and three months.”With no yardstick available, Delhi Metro engineers were sent to other countries to explore different options. The Metro systems of Hong Kong (operational since 1979), Cairo and Singapore (both started in 1987) were found to be best suited to Delhi’s weather conditions and traffic load demands.From the experiences of Kolkata Metro, the team knew what to avoid. Director (Works), DMRC, Mangu Singh, who worked on the Kolkata Metro from 1989 to 1996, before joining the Delhi Metro, recalls, “The Kolkata Metro had everything it takes to go wrong. Being a Railways project, it was seen as a central government initiative that the state had nothing to do with.” Today, nine years after the Delhi Metro took off, it covers 190 km in the Capital spanning 139 stations and carrying 18 lakh passengers a day. After Kolkata and Cairo, Delhi Metro has the third lowest fare structure and despite this, it is one of the five to be making operational profits (out of over 130 Metro systems across the world). It is the first to have introduced tokens for single journeys, later adopted by other Metros like Hong Kong, Bangkok and Taipei, says Singh, who is slated to take over from Sreedharan in 2012.The development potential of Metro projects is considered far from saturation point as projections say there will be some 560 cities, 300 of them in Asia, with populations of over one million by 2015. Sreedharan says there is a proposal that in India, cities with a population of more than five million will have a Metro system while those with over three million should begin planning for one.CBK Rao, former Director (Planning and Projects), DMRC, who is currently senior adviser for the upcoming Rapid Metro Rail Gurgaon, explains, “The Metro scores over other modes of transport on several counts. It can carry 70,000 passengers per hour per direction, occupies just 10 metres of road space on the elevated stretches and none at all in case of underground lines, saves 1/5th energy and cuts down harmful emissions. So what appears as a cost-intensive project has several economic benefits in the long run.”
Travelling to other cities
“Once I had the Delhi Metro rolling, I started visiting other cities, scouting around to see if they required a Metro system. In a number of cases, I worked out the initial proposal and approached the respective chief ministers to sell the idea of a Metro system in their state. There were apprehensions regarding the funding and here Delhi Metro’s experience came handy. We showed them how there could be equity by the state and Centre and a large part could be taken as a soft loan. When we told them this loan could be paid off conveniently by property development, they were convinced,” recalls Sreedharan.Bangalore and Hyderabad were the first to get their Detailed Project Reports in 2003, followed by Chennai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad. Currently DMRC is working on more than 27 DPRs across 13 cities, all at different stages of processing.When Bangalore got its ‘Namma Metro’ this month, Mumbaikars raised questions on the completion of their Metro, the foundation stone for which was laid in June 2006. An official spokesperson of the Reliance Infrastructure-led consortium that’s executing the project in Mumbai says, “Geographically, Mumbai is a linear city running on a North-South axis unlike Delhi, which is circular. So it is very difficult to block roads during construction. Another huge challenge is constructing over the Western Railway tracks that have heavy traffic.” The consortium anticipates it might miss the deadline only by a month or two, hoping to get the 11.4-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar line up and running by the end of 2012.By June 30, 2013, Jaipur can hope to see its Metro rolling out. Delhi Metro was awarded the civil constructions contract in August 2010 and the Rajasthan government has now forwarded a proposal to the state Cabinet for awarding DMRC the rest of the operations contract. With over 25 per cent civil construction work complete, if the project meets its June 2013 deadline, it will be the second fastest metro construction in Asia after Mecca-Medina.By 2015, Chennai, Kochi and Hyderabad Metro, which have already seen severe delays, are expected to finally get going. Meanwhile, the Kochi Metro project that has already got an in-principle approval from the Planning Commission, awaits a final nod from the Union Cabinet.Chennai Metro has already initiated work on the elevated sections. The target is to complete the first of 45 km by 2015. S Krishnamoorthy, Chief General Manager, Public Relations, Chennai Metro, says, “On some stretches, soil investigations and geo-technical studies are being done while work on the elevated sections has already begun.”Meanwhile, Kolkata, the city that gave the country its first Metro (a North-South corridor), is quietly attempting another first. A section of the upcoming East-West corridor will run 20 metres below the Hooghly river. Afcons Infrastructure, the infrastructure arm of Shapoorji Pallonji group, bagged a Rs 938-crore contract in March 2010 for a critical stretch, including three underground stations and a section below the river. Afcons has formed a strategic Joint Vehicle with a Russian company Transtonnelstroy to design and execute the project. The Russian company is said to have worked on similar projects in Iran to build a road under the sea.“Work on the elevated section from Salt Lake to Sealdah has finally begun after long-drawn issues relating to land acquisition. If all goes well, the elevated corridor should be complete by the end of 2015,” says K Gangopadhyay, Chief Engineer (Civil), Kolkata Metro.Right from generating employment opportunities to developing indigenous technology, the Metro has revolutionised the Indian market. In an effort to reduce costs and dependence on imports, two coach factories were set up, one by Bombardier in Savli, Gujarat, and another by a consortium led by Bharat Earth Movers Limited in Bangalore. A third coach factory is now being set up by Alstom near Chennai.In order to build a dedicated cadre of engineers trained in Metro technology, DMRC and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, have started a one-year course which produces 25 executives every year. Meanwhile Delhi Metro’s consultancy wing has managed to bring down the dependence on expatriate experts, bringing down the cost of consultancy. “Not only are we trying to indigenise technology, we are also trying to reduce dependence on imports and have been largely successful at that,” says Sreedharan, who will, in another two months, retire to the quiet interiors of Thrissur, Kerala, while the country continues to witness a ‘metro-morphosis’.
* Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited registered on May 3, 1995, under the Companies Act, 1956
* Union Cabinet approves the first phase of the Delhi Metro project in September 1996
* First employee of DMRC joins on April 4, 1997
* E Sreedharan appointed Managing Director on November 5, 1997
* Work on the Delhi Metro project starts on October 1, 1998
* The first section of the Delhi Metro (Shahdara to Tis Hazari) opens to the public on December 25, 2002
* In Phase I, the overall import component was around 60-65 per cent which was brought down to 30-35 per cent in Phase II. In terms of rolling stock alone, 15 coaches imported in Phase I while in Phase II, only one coach was flown in
* Over 18 lakh passengers travel on the Delhi Metro every day
* Construction for Phase II of the Metro network in Delhi was completed by 2010 in only four-and-a-half years, making it one of the fastest Metro constructions achieved worldwide
* It’s one of the five Metros across the world to make operational profits—others are Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore and Tokyo
To enhance efficiency, the DMRC has kept a lean structure with no room for unproductive layers. Technicians and engineers have been assigned separate workstations, which are out of bounds for visitors. A delay of even five minutes can cost them half-a-day’s casual leave. Once targets are set, a countdown clock is set, reminding officials about the number of days left to open the next section.The Bhagavad Gita is an important part of the management philosophy of the Delhi Metro. On joining the organisation, instead of a work manual, all executives are given a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, that is considered not so much a religious text but a manual imparting important lessons in self-management.