04 June 2020

Interaction- Kumar Keshav, MD, Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation

Lucknow Metro is the fastest ever Metro project implemented in the Country

Lucknow Metro is one of the most ambitious Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) projects of the Government which has been executed and operated well within the sanctioned budget and within an extremely compressed deadline. It has achieved the distinction of being the fastest Metro Project construction which has ever happened in this country and has set a new benchmark in the history of Metro Project execution and operation. KUMAR KESHAV, MD, LUCKNOW METRO RAIL CORPORATION spoke to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES in detail regards to this prestigious and game changing project.


Please brief us on the current status of the Metro Rail project?

The 8.5 km “Priority Corridor” of the North-South Corridor (Phase 1A) is already operational for public services with effect from 6th September, 2017. The civil work of the remaining stretch of 15.5 km is going at a rapid pace to finish the job well ahead of the target. Out of this, the civil work for the 3.5 km underground section comprising the Hussainganj, Sachivalaya and Hazratganj route is almost complete. Work for the Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport underground Metro station is also progressing at a fast pace.

LMRC has started laying tracks and the work of the Over Head Electrification (OHE) for providing power supply to the Metro trains for the balanced elevated corridor from KD Singh Babu Stadium to Munshipulia. Civil work for the Amausi Metro station is complete with the finishing and the Electrical & Mechanical works going at present.

Lucknow Metro is slated to commission the whole North-South corridor (Phase 1A) from Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport to Munshipulia by April, 2019.



Expected cost of the project and funds disbursed so far?

According to the Detailed Project Report, the completion cost of the 23 km long Lucknow Metro’s Phase 1A (North – South Corridor) has been expected to be at Rs.6,880 crore. This cost is being funded by equity contributions from the Central Govt. and the State Govt. in equal proportions with an external loan of Rs.3,502 crore from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Till now, LMRC has received Rs.4850.72 crore from the Government for completing the Phase 1A (North – South Corridor). This fund is being used very judiciously for the completing the Metro Rail Project in the capital city of Uttar Pradesh.



Any interesting highlights or features which distinguish this project from other metro rail projects?

Lucknow Metro is the fastest ever Metro project implemented in the Country. The 8.5 km of the ‘Priority Stretch’ has been completed and made operational for public in less than three year which is a record in itself. No other Metro Project has even been able to achieve this feat in the past. Even contemporary Metro projects in the country have also not been able to match up with the speed of deliverance in the country as compared with LMRC’s strength in project execution within such a stiff target date and the sanctioned budget.

At Mawaiya Railway Crossing, LMRC has constructed a special balanced cantilever span of 255 meters (central span 105 meters; end spans of 75 meters each). This is one of the most challenging and a critical job which has been executed at a height of 21.5 meters above the ground level while passing over 12 railway tracks at a height of 15.2 meters under extremely difficult situations. It is one of the rarest feats achieved for any Metro project in the country.

At Awadh Rotary, Lucknow Metro has launched a 60 meter special steel span bridge crossing the rotary over a statue in the middle of the rotary. This bridge which has been built at a height of approximately 13 meters above the ground connects both the ends of the Metro viaduct to provide a special seamless connectivity for Metro train operation.

LMRC has been ensuring from day one of its construction activity that its every endeavour is eco-friendly so as to keep the city green and lively. Lucknow Metro has been ensuring an environment friendly mass rapid transport for the public from the first day of its inception.

Lucknow Metro is taking several energy conservation measures, such as, the use of regenerative braking in the trains which will result in saving of 30 to 35 per cent traction energy, thereby resulting in reduction in emission of Green House Gases (GHG), use of 1 per cent criteria for underground stations in the AC system for the stations, using 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 the underground station etc.

Currently, 1.5 MW – 2MW of electricity has been planned by Lucknow Metro to be used from the roof mounted photo voltaic cells on train stabling and inspection line sheds under the RESCO model. Because of all these novel measures, society will be able to recover the entire investment cost of the project in 5 years, its Economic Rate of Return (ERR) of the Project being 19.46 per cent.



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

In August 2014, the first civil contract was finalised and work started in September, 2014. Before starting our work, we did a lot of public interaction. Utility identification was a big issue. The entire area had already been utilised for the road purpose and there were narrow footpaths and congested buildings. We widened some of the footpaths, removed large no. of the electrical poles, electrical cables, huge numberof telecoms and water pipelines were also shifted. Since the city had never seen this type of work being undertaken on busy roads, we had to face big challenges in terms of taking people and utility agencies together. We took help of the utility agencies and are thankful to them as they supported us despite LMRC being new to them. Gradually, people developed their confidence in us and we shifted the utility zone on their behalf.

As a result, delays could be controlled and contractor was given a clear zone to work within a strict time-frame. We overcame this big challenge. We maintained proper barricades; we deployed our own marshals and trained them with the help of the local police. Weekly monitoring of activities was being done and the State Government was kept informed of the latest happenings. Meticulous planning and implementation was controlled at our level. Strict timeframe was a challenge but close monitoring was involved. Baseline time diagram was made in the beginning. December 26, 2016 was the date for commencing the trials which later advanced to December 1, 2016. We are thankful to all the contracting agencies who believed in us. It was a collective effort.

In a big city, infrastructure capability is available for construction such as big machinery, capable contractors, good vendors, materials etc. But in a city like Lucknow, these technologies are not available. Most of the things we started working with were outsourced.

As far as the land requirement and land acquisition is concerned, LMRC tried to reduce the private land requirement to the bare minimum. The Government issued notification and orders for us for direct negotiation with private parties.



Green initiatives taken for the Metro Rail project.

LMRC has been ensuring from day one of its construction activity that its every endeavour is eco-friendly so as to keep the city green and lively. Lucknow Metro planned to provide an environmental friendly mass rapid transport for the public from the first day of its inception. The project is already providing the residents and visitors of Lucknow a state-of-the-art modern world class Mass Rapid Transit System that is safe, convenient, fast, reliable, cost effective and barrier-free mode of public transport for the differently-abled persons.

The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) – one of the apex body in India to rate and certify a system as a ‘Green’ system – has certified LMRC a “Green Metro Rail System”, thereby, awarding platinum certificate to all its eight Metro stations on the ‘Priority Corridor’ from Transport Nagar to Charbagh on 31st August, 2017.

This is highest green rating for any civil structure or building which has been awarded to LMRC. With this, LMRC has become the 1st government entity in Lucknow region and 1st one in transport sector in U.P. to attain Indian Green Building Council’s Platinum Certification. LMRC is, thus, taking forward the mission of “Cleaner and Greener Uttar Pradesh” in the area of mass rapid transport system.

The Metro Stations and the Transport Nagar Metro depot have been designed and built as ‘Green’ buildings in accordance with the standards of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). Apart from this, on the occasion of the World Environment Day on 5th June, 2017, LMRC was awarded with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001:2004 & the Occupational Health & Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) 18001:2007 certificates in recognition of the organization’s integrated management system which complies with the ISO & OHSAS standards and requirements.



Key learning’s from your experience and how they can be applied to the forthcoming projects?

It has been a very satisfying experience so far to complete this kind of herculean project in a very compressed time schedule. Nevertheless, it was not an easy task which has been accomplished in a very efficient manner. LMRC had meticulously and intelligently chalked out different strategies for achieving the target in a very tight deadline. A right combination of a team of experienced, dedicated and sincere engineers and professionals worked day and night to create such a milestone in the history of Metro Project execution in the Country. It has, thus, set a new benchmark in Metro construction in the industry.

This experience will definitely help us to start the forthcoming projects in the Lucknow & other cities of the Uttar Pradesh and make us able to complete the target with the excellence.



What are the key differences between Metros in other countries compared to India?

Metros in foreign country have predominantly been built on ‘Standard Gauge’. In India, Metros evolved on ‘Broad Gauge’. However, it is gradually shifting to ‘Standard Gauge’ in all the upcoming Metro Projects in the Country.

The concept of ‘Metro’ has primarily been of an ‘underground’ mode of Mass Transit in the foreign countries. In India, we see the emergence of ‘elevated’ Metro in all the cities where it has been planned and made operational. In India, the Metro Rail Project are increasingly been certified for carbon credits for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the United Nations. It has been made possible by saving electric power by using regenerative braking in the Metro trains, thereby, reducing significant carbon emissionsin the environment.

Technologically, all the new Metros which are upcoming in different cities of India are more advanced as compared with the Metros in other cities. We have a disadvantage of starting very late yet have the advantage of combining all the latest technologies world over for creating a world class state-of-the-art Metro system in the modern time.



Which according to you is the landmark Metro project in India and abroad?

Delhi Metro is, of course, a landmark Metro Project in India. Lucknow Metro has also done very well in just three years by creating a record of being the fastest ever Metro Rail Project implemented in the Country.



Future plans and outlook on Metro in India.

Metro Rails are, definitely, the future of the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) in most of the urban centers in India. It may be a light Metro, a medium Metro or a large Metro. The decision for it largely depends on the population, traffic and geographical constraints of the city.

India is already on its way to create a world-class state-of-the-art Mass Rapid Transit System in different parts of the Country which shall be integrated with other modes of public transport for better public transport connectivity.



Detail us with regards to the latest technologies being used in the Lucknow Metro Rail project.

LMRC has selected state-of-the-art technologies for Metro like:

  • Rolling Stock (Metro Train) has been incorporated with the latest Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) Signalling system which ensures complete safety of passengers while travelling in Metro.
  • Heavy Duty Escalators and Heavy Duty Lifts to cater heavy rush of passengers. The escalators have been provided with emergency stop button which can be used whenever a passenger feels he/she is uncomfortable while travelling on it. All LMRC escalators have been designed to stop in case of emergency.
  • Likewise, all lifts/elevators have been provided with emergency call buttons and speakers for passengers to speak to the Metro official from inside in case of any emergency or in case of any safety/security issue.
  • Fire Detection/Fire Alarm and Protection System have been provided in Metro to deal with such issues.
  • Adequate CCTVs have been provided inside every Metro Train and at Metro station/premises to keep a proper electronic real-time surveillance inside the system.

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