Revolutionising the Indian metro diversification

Revolutionising the Indian metro diversification

Vikas Kumar, Managing Director, DMRC Ltd. in an interview with E Jayashree Kurup, spills beans on DMRC’s expansion plans, the challenges faced today, steps taken towards environment conservation, the ambitious works carried out under Aatmanirbhar Bharat mission, and also touches upon...
Discover the Cement Expo! Click the button below to explore all the event details.

Visit Cement Expo Website

Vikas Kumar, Managing Director, DMRC Ltd. in an interview with E Jayashree Kurup, spills beans on DMRC’s expansion plans, the challenges faced today, steps taken towards environment conservation, the ambitious works carried out under Aatmanirbhar Bharat mission, and also touches upon the diversification plans of DMRC. Excerpts from the interview...Delhi has one of the best metro systems in the country? What is your plan for enhancing this network? Where will the funds come from? We are already engaged in further expanding the metro network in the national capital. Around 65 kilometres of new lines are being built and we hope to complete these corridors by the end of 2025. These corridors are being constructed with the help of the Government of India and the National Capital Territory of Delhi as well as loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which has supported the Delhi Metro project right from phase 1. How much can commercial development of land offset the cost of construction of metro networks? Right since phase 1, DMRC has tried to utilise its land resources for the generation of additional revenue. An IT park was built at Shastri Park which houses many banks and multinational entities. During our second phase of expansion also, many stations such as Nehru Place, HUDA City Centre have been developed as property development projects. Multiple malls, multi-level parking facilities have been constructed on land leased out by DMRC in areas such as Subhash Nagar and Janakpuri. However, it would not be incorrect to say that there is potential for much more commercial development. There are implementational challenges because of issues such as the multiplicity of agencies, repeated litigations, no clear guidelines on transit oriented development (TOD) even after seven years of policy formulation leading to half-hearted implementation etc. Apart from the use of land resources, efforts are also being made to generate revenues through other non-ticketing sources such as consultancy. Do you think the speed of development of metro vis-a-vis railways and road networks needs to improve? China, for instance, develops over 200 km of metro per month, across 44 cities. The Delhi Metro project is probably the fastest-expanding metro project in the world outside of China. We started construction work in 1998, and today have one of the largest metro networks in the world. This exemplifies how Delhi Metro has expanded over time. Also in the case of other metros in India, there has been a significant increase in construction speed in the last few years. Multiple corridors have been thrown open in the big cities such as Mumbai and Kolkata. Nagpur, Pune, Kanpur, and Ahmedabad have all joined the nation’s metro map. However, any comparison with China would not be appropriate since in India the crucial processes such as land acquisition, and rehabilitation have to be done following all the rules in place, while keeping the interests of the citizens on top priority. How did the pandemic lockdown impact Delhi metro’s finances? How long will it take to get back on track? Data of revenue from two financial years during the COVID pandemic: There was a fall in revenue due to COVID induced consecutive lockdowns and the travel restrictions imposed by the government. This was not an isolated phenomenon and the same was witnessed by all transit operators across the world. However, Delhi Metro’s current revenue has reached almost 80 per cent of the pre-COVID levels. Further, gradual progress is expected in the future. How green are DMRC operations? Is there any plan to use the stations to generate solar power to add to the country’s SDG commitments? Delhi Metro accords the highest priority towards the conservation of the environment. We are the first rail-based organisation in the world to claim carbon credits for our modal shift and regenerative braking projects. Currently, DMRC is producing close to 50 MW of solar power through rooftop solar plants installed atop its elevated stations, depots and residential colonies. We are also obtaining about 100 MW of solar power from an off-site solar power plant in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh. Right now, about 35 per cent of our operational requirements are being met by renewable sources of power. DMRC is in a unique situation where we deal with multiple governments like Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, besides the Centre, when planning our growth. Delhi metro has to its credit many successful engineering projects including the JICA award? How is Phase IV in terms of engineering challenges? Phase 4 of the Delhi Metro is one of our most challenging phases of expansion. We are currently constructing 65 kilometres of new lines across the city. There will be many civil engineering highlights such as the construction of three rail-cum-road viaducts, the fifth bridge over River Yamuna and the conversion of the Azadpur Metro station as the second triple interchange facility in the Delhi Metro network after Kashmere Gate. How will the Aatmanirbhar initiative help metro projects in terms of manufacturing of coaches, spares and tracks? A lot of work is already being done under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India initiatives of the Government of India. This month we have successfully launched India’s first-ever indigenously developed signalling technology (i-ATS) on our red line. It is a very important step forward as now our dependence on foreign vendors for such requirements will significantly decrease. Our contract conditions mandate that at least 75 per cent of the rolling stock has to be built in India. As a result, a lot of rolling stock manufacturers of global repute have set up factories here. Today, over 90 per cent of the metro rolling stock required by Indian cities is being manufactured in India. Various sub-systems of rolling stock, traction, over head electrification (OHE) are being manufactured in India now. Do you also have any upskilling projects for engineers working in DMRC projects? How does DMRC continue to lead in excellence? Upskilling is a very important component of our human resources strategy. A state-of-the-art academy with specialised faculty is operational, where all officers, both technical and non-technical have to undergo trainings on various modules from time to time. We keep tying up with the best in business such as the IIMs, IITs, and management departments of prestigious universities to plan and execute these programmes. Our engineers are also taken on tours abroad as well as to the other major infrastructure projects across the country for knowledge gathering and exposure.

Related Stories

Gold Stories

Hi There!

Now get regular updates from CW Magazine on WhatsApp!

Click on link below, message us with a simple hi, and SAVE our number

You will have subscribed to our Construction News on Whatsapp! Enjoy

+91 81086 03000

Join us Telegram