Saturday, September 26, 2020

Interaction- Kumar Keshav, MD, UPMRC

 

The Lucknow Metro is the finest example of a successful Mass Rapid Transit System in India.

 

Lucknow Metro is committed to the vision of providing safe, fast, affordable, comfortable, hassle-free and barrier-free (for differently abled) mobility solution to the commuters. It has state-of-the-art amenities such as world-class stations with free Wi-fi, escalators, elevators and automatic fare collection machines. Other facilities include the inter-car passage, LED lighting, spaces for baby prams and wide doors for differently abled passengers. The commercial run of Lucknow Metro is restricted since 23rd March 2020 due to Covid-19 Pandemic but UPMRC is now well prepared to resume the services post lockdown. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, KUMAR KESHAV, MD, UTTAR PRADESH METRO RAIL CORPORATION LIMITED (UPMRC) speaks about the fastest constructed, executed and implemented metro project in India within the allocated budget i.e. Lucknow Metro, Agra & Kanpur metro and how UPMRC is now well prepared to resume the services post lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic.

 

 

 

 

Please brief us on the current status of the Lucknow metro rail project. Also, provide us details regards to the deadlines set and met for overall project completion. Also please brief us on the ridership; what are steps taken to enthuse people to travel by metro.

 

The Lucknow Metro has achieved a distinction of being the fastest constructed, executed and implemented metro project in India within the allocated budget. The project was completed 36 days ahead of its deadline. The civil construction of the priority section from Transport Nagar to Charbagh commenced on 27th September 2014 and started commercial operation on this stretch on 5th September 2017, making it the fastest-built metro rail system in the country. The 22.878 Km long North-South Corridor from Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport till Munshipulia was also completed ahead of its timeline in less than four years and a half. We have submitted the revised DPR of the East-West Corridor of the Lucknow Metro to the government for approval. The 11.098 Km long East-West Corridor will connect Charbagh to Vasant Kunj and pass through 12 stations including Gautam Buddha Marg, Aminabad, Pandeyganj, City Railway Station, Medical Chauraha, Chowk, Thakurganj, Balaganj, Sarfarazganj and Musa bagh but this corridor is yet to be approved.

 

The cumulative ridership of the Lucknow metro crossed 1 million in the first 70 days of commercial operation commenced from 5th September, 2017. Recently, on 5th March, 2020, Lucknow Metro touched the glorious ridership figure of 2.51 crore. Starting commercial operation for public on 6th September, 2017, Lucknow Metro trains have completed a total of 39,19,959 Kilometres which is equivalent to three round trips to the moon or around 98 times around the Earth.

 

Lucknow Metro trains complete an average of 343 trips everyday on the North-South corridor stretching from Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport to Munshipulia and nearly 60,000 passengers travelling by Lucknow Metro every day.

 

Lucknow Metro is committed to the vision of providing safe, fast, affordable, comfortable, hassle-free and barrier-free (for differently abled) mobility solution to the commuters. It has state-of-the-art amenities such as world-class stations with free Wi-fi, escalators, elevators and automatic fare collection machines. Other facilities include the inter-car passage, LED lighting, spaces for baby prams and wide doors for differently abled passengers.

 

The commercial run of Lucknow Metro is restricted since 23rd March 2020 due to Covid-19 Pandemic but UPMRC is now well prepared to resume the services post lockdown. Lucknow Metro is committed to ensure safety of its passengers during these tough times and is taking significant steps to provide them the safest travel experience.

 

UPMRC will start rigorous screening at its metro stations to monitor the health status of passengers and avoid further spread of the pandemic. All Entry Gates of all metro stations will have Thermal scanning facility. It will be mandatory for everyone to go through thermal scanning before entering metro premises and anyone with temperature readings higher than permissible limit, won’t be allowed entry into the premises. UPMRC ensures that all station premises, equipments and common points of contact are sanitized at regular intervals of 4-5 hours including the Ticket counters (TOMs), Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs), Customer Care centres, Entry-Exit AFC gates, security check frisking points, grab rails inside trains, handrails of the escalator, seats of trains, platforms, lifts, lift buttons, escalators, handrails of escalators, staircase, Baggage Scanning Machines, Metal Detector Machines and door frames, seats, handles of trains and all entry/exit points.

 

Aarogya Setu app will be mandatory for all the metro passengers and people without the app won’t be allowed metro travel. Awareness campaigns are being run through video messages and posters about different precautions and things to be kept in mind for the prevention of Corona Virus, through official Facebook and Twitter accounts @OfficialUPMetro.

 

 

 

The expected cost of the project, funds disbursed so far and additional funds sanctioned?

 

In the case of Lucknow Metro, the estimated cost of the North- South project was 6880 Crores in which `6868.75 Crores disbursed so far. The estimated cost of the Agra Metro project is `8379.62 Crores whereas the cost of Kanpur Metro project is `11,076.48 crores.

 

 

 

Agra & Kanpur metro has also been initiated, your comments as to how it will impact the community and ease transportation in the cities.

 

The Kanpur metro project will include two corridors – Kanpur IIT to Naubasta corridor and Agriculture University to Barra-8 corridor. It will connect all major cluster areas and nodes of the city. About 40 lakh population will be benefitted either directly or indirectly through the Kanpur metro project.

 

The civil construction of the priority section from IIT Kanpur to Moti Jheel commenced on 15th November 2019 which is in under process. Afcons Infrastructure received a civil contract for the metro rail project in September 2019. The project’s first pier cap was erected on 19th March 2020 and 21 pier cap has been erected till 15th July 2020.

 

Recently, the consortium, M/s Bombardier Transport India Private Limited, has won the contract for supplying the rolling stock and signalling system for the Kanpur and Agra metro projects.

 

The Agra Metro Rail Project will have two corridors. It will connect prominent tourist places, such as the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Sikandara. Other key localities such as ISBT, Raja Ki Mandi Railway Station, the Medical College will also be covered under the metro route. The project is expected to benefit about 20 lakh population in the city. The metro will also boost tourism in Agra as prominent tourist places will be connected by it.

 

Metro projects are the backbone for urban development and the socio-economic transformation of the city. The metro connects the major nodes of the city and reduces commuting time besides boosting connectivity. It also eases congestion by reducing traffic on the roads and solves the problem of encroachment. By decreasing the fuel cost, it has emerged as a cost-effective and sustainable mobility solution.

 

Boosting transport and infrastructure also serves as a catalyst to economic development by attracting private companies, generating employment opportunities and transforming the city into an industrial and business hub.

 

 

 

What are the challenges specific to the metro project and how has it been overcome?

 

The key challenge in all metro projects is to garner the support of the common population. However, we were able to secure a favourable public opinion through consistent stakeholder engagement and community interaction programmes. UPMRC has also been facing some challenges in the field of civil construction. LMRC has undertaken the construction of a balanced cantilever span of 255 meters (central span 105 meters; end spans of 75 meters each) at Mawaiya Railway Crossing. This work was executed at a height of 21.5 meters above the ground level while surpassing over a Railway Crossing at a height of 15.2 meters from the ground level amidst the heavy main road traffic.

 

The other challenge was; we had very less time to complete all the construction work and make the Metro train operational. To monitor the work and speed of the project, regular project monitoring, inspection, review was done at administrative office and construction site along with a simultaneous monitoring of the progress through MS Project and Primawera softwares which helped us to set a new benchmark in Metro Project execution in the country. As a result, Lucknow Metro earned the distinction of being the fastest ever Metro Rail Project.

 

Green initiatives taken for the Metro Rail project.

 

Lucknow Metro envisions being a sustainable mobility solution for commuters. Stringent measures have been undertaken to ensure compliance with environmental norms since the inception of the project itself. Over 35% of trees have been saved by tweaking the design and alignment of the Lucknow metro. Several energy conservation measures have been adopted such as the use of regenerative braking in the trains that save 30 to 35 percent traction energy thereby resulting in reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) emission, use of Variable Voltage Variable Frequency (VVVF) drive for all lifts and escalators, provision of LED lights at stations, use of energy-efficient equipment for Environmental Control System (ECS) and Tunnel Ventilation System (TVS) system for underground stations.

 

Solar Panels of 10 KW have been installed at the roof of Transport Nagar Receiving Sub Station (RSS) of LMRC which is operational and is providing clean electrical energy to the company. In addition, roof top 12 KW solar panels have also been installed at the roof of Lucknow Metro’s Administrative Building, VipinKhand, Gomti Nagar. These are also operational and the office is already saving a substantial amount on the electricity bill. On account of this, M/s Jackson Engineers Pvt. Ltd. had done this project for Lucknow Metro.


 

 

 

 

 

Key learnings from your experience and how they can be applied to the forthcoming projects?

 

There is no short cut to hard work and I must say with sincerity and proper time management we can achieve anything, no matter how tough it is.

 

By starting the project within stipulated time, Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation has now become the first Metro project in Uttar Pradesh which will play a lead role in not only execution of Lucknow metro but also other metros in the different cities of UP i.e. Kanpur, Agra, Meerut, Varanasi, Allahabad and Jhansi. It is a big achievement for the UPMRC as no other Metro has been able to get the opportunity to play a role model for other metros in such a short span of time. The experience of the Lucknow Metro will help UPMRC to set another bench mark in the execution of upcoming Metro rail project in other cities also.

 

 

 

Detail us with regards to the latest technologies being used in the metro rail project.

 

The Metro rail project is equipped with state-of-the-art amenities due to the leveraging of cutting-edge technology. Lucknow Metro trains have advanced signalling and train control system called Communication Based Train Control System that enables it to virtually run on a driverless mode. We have used LED lighting and regenerative braking to ensure energy efficiency. All these systems are monitored through the Train Control and Management System (TCMS). The Automatic Train Operation feature enables automatic braking to avert the chances of collision and ensures accurate stopping before the restrictive point at metro stations. Moreover, Automatic Train Supervision ensures automated management, supervision as well as optimization of train movement in case of abnormalities.

 

 

 

What sort of support or policy changes are you expecting from the government with regards to metro rail project execution?

 

We are indebted to the Central government as well as the Uttar Pradesh government for providing the enabling framework as well as the necessary support to make Metro a reality in the populous state of Uttar Pradesh. The Metro Rail Policy 2017 lays down several guidelines for the establishment of the metro rail system to ensure last-mile connectivity and herald urban transformation in India. Moreover, the government of Uttar Pradesh has also enacted and implemented several regulations to ensure smooth-and hassle-free metro operations.

 

 

 

Future Plans and outlook on metros in India.

 

The Lucknow Metro is the finest example of a successful Mass Rapid Transit System in India. It has achieved a distinction of implementing the world-class infrastructure in record time. Having won numerous accolades, both globally and at a national level, it is the benchmark of excellence for the proposed metro projects in Kanpur, Agra, Varanasi, Allahabad, Gorakhpur and Meerut.

 

Metro projects revolutionize the public transportation system in cities by providing safe, convenient, reliable, cost-efficient, comfortable and eco-friendly means of transportation. They play a catalytic role in ushering socio-economic development of the region by providing the advanced infrastructure, improving connectivity, attracting industries, generating employment and boosting the tourism potential.

 

I urge people to adopt this Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) and usher a sustainable urban revolution in India.

 




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