‘We have given top most priority to the safety and security of passengers in Chennai Metro Rail project,’ says Pankaj Kumar Bansal. In conversation with Kartik Sharma, Elets News Network ( ENN).
What lead to the city of Chennai have its own metro rail system?
Chennai metropolis has been growing rapidly and the traffic volumes on the roads have also been increasing enormously. Hence the need for a new rail based rapid transport system has been felt and towards this objective the Government of Tamil Nadu has decided to implement the Chennai Metro Rail Project. This project aims at providing the people of Chennai with a fast, reliable, convenient, efficient, modern and economical mode of public transport, which is properly integrated with other forms of public and private transport including buses, sub-urban trains and Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS).
Please give us some details about the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL).
The Government of Tamil Nadu created a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for implementing the Chennai Metro Rail Project. This SPV named as “Chennai Metro Rail Limited” was incorporated on 03.12.2007 under the Companies Act. It has now been converted into a Joint Venture of Government of India and Government of Tamil Nadu with equal equity holding.
What are the steps being taken by you to ensure a safe and secure metro rail system in Chennai?
Passenger safety and security has been given the top most priority in Chennai Metro Rail project. Keeping in mind the safety concerns, we have systems in place which ensures that platform gates will open only when a train enters a platform. On the other hand, train can move only when the gets are closed. This reduces the chances of accidents. All these steps also help us in energy consumption, along with ensuring safety. It is noticed that the air-conditioning required for tunnel cooling near platform or track area is far more than what is required for the remaining part, due to the heat generation for using brakes. But, if we are able to cut down the unnecessary brake movement near the platform area, it will help in efficient use of energy.
The land disputes or infrastructural issues are associated with most of the big infrastructure projects in our country. How have CMRL dealt with these kinds of issues?
We have in our possession all the lands necessary for the project, except one. But there are some small litigation problems in some places. Luckily for us these minute problems have not hampered our work. This is a public project and moreover court takes well concern of the legalities. Though there were few challenges initially. Due to the sluggishness in the market some companies engaged with us could not able to complete the work on time. It forced us to terminate their contract as all these were affecting progress of our project.
Please brief us about the energy efficient air-conditioning system installed in the Chennai Metro Rail.
We have installed air conditioning system which is more energy efficient. For example I can say that in any air conditioning system there are two cycles- primary and secondary. There is the need of energy or cooling transiting from one cycle to another. But here we are focusing on single cycle only. This will save nearly 30 percent of energy as compare to earlier air- conditioning system. It will result in more energy efficient air-conditioning system in metro rail.
Various other metro projects in cities like Delhi and Kolkata are utilizing their stations to showcase art and culture. What about CMRL’s plan on this?
Our stations are developed on varied concepts. So each and every station will be depicting various forms of art and cultures. For example I can tell you that one station will be decorated with the photos of classical Bharatnatyam dance form and other station might be showcasing flowers or wildlife particularly associated with our state.
We often see glitches in the car parking places for metro projects in other cities. Share with us the plans of CMRL to tackle this problem. Also throw some light on CMRL’s bicycle parking and renting initiative.
We are trying to do things differently in Chennai. There are separate sub lines inside our stations for pick up and drop points or parking places. This will result in fewer chances of blocking up main roads near the metro station areas. There will also be escalator system in place which will be connected to the parking areas. In our stations area we are providing separate space for cycle parking. We have tied up with Chennai Corporation and they have provided free cycles.
Before moving to CMRL, you have served various other important government departments. How do you find working for Chennai Metro Rail project?
I thank the government for giving me the opportunity to work for this project. I am happy to be part of CMRL as I have handled similar kinds of projects for Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and World Bank. I had also worked earlier in the major infrastructure projects, like Hogenakkal water supply project, which was a Rs 2000 crore project.
What are the core values being followed by Chennai Metro Rail Limited?
We are always trying to give safe, clean reliable and courteous service to our customers. Apart from this, we want to uphold Integrity and our focus is also on sustainability for reducing green house emissions. Trust factor is important for us and we are committed to honour the trust reposed in us by the public by managing CMRL resources (financial and non-financial) with highest degree of responsibility. Creativity and innovation also excites us.