Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) is now all set to start the commissioning of the trial runs of its first Metro train set in December, 2016, says Kumar Keshav, Managing Director, LMRC, in an interview with Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN).
Give an overview of Lucknow Metro Rail project? When is the trial run of metro train scheduled to commence?
Lucknow Metro – the dream project of Hon’ble Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and the people of Lucknow is being accomplished in capital city and now becoming a reality for the people of the city. Commencing its civil work on September 27, 2014, LMRC is now slated to commission the trial-run of its Metro train for the 8.5 km long ‘Priority Corridor’ between Transport Nagar and Charbagh on this December 1 The civil work is almost complete with finishing, electrical and mechanical (E&M) and the lift and escalator work going in-tandem to complete it before the trial runs.
Amongst million cities, Lucknow is one of the cities where Metro project is initiated and no one would have even thought about it. Lucknow city has set an example. All other cities of the same category are now thinking that Metro is a long term solution to their transport problems.
Keeping up with the tough targets, initially the plan was to commence trials on 26th December 2016. Later, the target was advanced by 25 days. Currently, the target is 1st December to commence the trials. Extensive trials are to be conducted under the supervision of the Ministry of Railways. We will start the trial runs inside the depot. LMRC has achieved this target in just two years and two months’ time which is an extremely tough target to achieve. I am extremely happy on this achievement and I thank the LMRC Team for their dedicated and sincere efforts to make this happen.
No other Metro project has been able to match up with the speed of deliverance in project execution in such a short and stiff target as Lucknow Metro. The 8.5 km ‘Priority Corridor’ of the North – South corridor (Phase 1A) is being executed in just over two years 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 a very stiff target.
In terms of funds, what is the ratio between the Government of India and Government of UP,and foreign agencies?
The Lucknow Metro Rail Project is a Joint Venture (JV) of the Government of India and the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The completion cost of the North – South Corridor (Phase 1A) is `6,880 crores. Both the governments have equal equity partnership in this project. The contribution of the Central government is 20 per cent while the contribution of the State Government is 23 per cent. The European Investment Bank (EIB), an external funding agency, is also contributing 57 per cent of the project cost as loan to LMRC. The State Government is providing land free of cost and is also reimbursing the State taxes.
What are the technologies that have been used in Lucknow Metro and how will it help the public?
We have adopted the latest technology in Lucknow Metro.We have gone for the Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) system which is the latest signalling system for Metro Rail. Its advantage is that the trains can run at a very close frequency with 100 per cent safety. Few other Metros have also gone for CBTC. If we are successful in implementing it early, we would be the first to do it.
On the systems side, we are the first to go for a combined tender for the signalling and the rolling stock. It was, nevertheless, an easy task to achieve the manufacturing of Rolling Stock (Metro Train) in just 65 weeks after placing – which is usually 90 weeks. We chalked out the strategy to combine both the contracts. Otherwise, most of the Metros in India have separate contract due to various reasons.
As an outcome of that, I could save the cost of the signalling and lot of input interface issues were resolved by the contractors at their own levels. The interface cost came down and it ultimately benefitted Lucknow Metro.
How many passengers will be benefitted by this smart transportation and what is the plan for second phase?
As per the detailed project report, this North – South Corridor will carry roughly 6,00,000 passengers daily in the beginning which will keep on increasing. Our system has been planned in a way that four Car Trains should be able to take 25,000 passengers in peak hours in each direction at a 4 to 4.5 minute frequency Over the years, these 4-Car train will be made into a 6-Car train depending on the increase in ridership and capacity. With the new technology (i.e. CBTC), the frequency of operation of trains can further be reduced. This will meet the requirement of Lucknow for another 30 to 40 years that is how we have planned the system.
LMRC has been appointed as interim consultant for Kanpur Metro and Varanasi Metro, Kanpur Metro foundation has been laid, and when can people expect boarding the Metro? LMRC has given confidence to all of us including the government, people, and to ourselves that this project can be implemented. When Lucknow Metro was happening, the Government decided that the other cities should also have the Metro. For preparing the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for Metro Rail Projects in Kanpur, Varanasi, Aga and Meerut, the Government of Uttar Pradesh appointed LMRC as the “Coordinator”. LMRC had already submitted the DPRs of all these four important cities to the Government.
For Kanpur Metro Rail Project, Hon’ble Chief Minister and Hon’ble Union Minister for Urban Development laid its foundation stone on October 4th this year. Simultaneously, LMRC started the depot construction activities on the same day.
With regard to the Varanasi Metro Rail Project, the State Government is making every effort to start the project early. The State Government has already appointed LMRC as the ‘Interim Consultant’ of the Kanpur & Varanasi Metro Rail Projects to expedite the process.
You have been awarded with Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial Award on Innovation in Governance recently. Which of your innovation brought the laurels?
Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation has been recently given the prestigious Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial Award on Innovation in Governance. This award is the result of the efforts of the whole team of Lucknow Metro and I feel very proud to be honoured like this.
Also Read: Lucknow Metro: The New Lifeline of the City
Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) has always displayed itself as a very unique kind of government organisation focussed on innovative ideas to execute and complete the project in an excellent manner in such a stiff target. This award is yet another public recognition for Lucknow Metro as the Corporation’s sincere effort and dedication in innovation in governance and project completion has been recognised in such a glorious way at the national level.