India Urban Transportation Society

Website: http://www.iuts.org. The mailing list is DelhiMetro@Yahoogroups.com. The posts focus on the Delhi Metro and similar rail based mass transit projects in Indian cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. Alternatives such as Light Rail, Sky Bus, Electric Trolley Bus, Monorail, Tram, High Capacity Bus, and related public transportation issues are also discussed.

Monday, October 16, 2006

IUT Review Vol. I No. 9

India Urban Transportation Review, September 2006
Vol. I No. 9


* From the Editor
* Bangalore Review
* Chennai Review
* Delhi Review
* Kolkata Review
* Hyderabad Review
* Mumbai Review
* Entry Guidelines

From the Editor
Ashish Vashisht


Dear urban transport fans,

September was a month in which the BMRC of Bangalore worked on compensation scheme for families affected by the Metro. Chennai expands on the luxury buses with doors while improving stations on the MRTS network. Delhi Metro enters the Phase II of the project which promises to finale in 2010 with the Commonwealth Games. Inspite of impressive gains in property revenue, DMRC has lately started talking a lot about cutting costs.

Kolkata Metro extensions are delayed till December 2007. Given the example of the Kolkata Metro, it is no surprise that the Indian Railway does not want to have another foray into mass transit system. Meanwhile, the buried East-West Metro link as again been revived. Hyderabad on the other hand is actively realigning its proposed Metro plan. In Mumbai the Centre will pay the viability gap funding line of Phase I. Everyone is eagerly awaiting for the project to start.

As before, the website for the future India Urban Transportation Society is at http://www.iuts.org where you can find all previous issues of the IUTR.

Bangalore Review
Ashish Vashisht & Ashwin Hegde


As the Metro plans chug along, the 1,500-odd families, who will lose their properties for the proposed metro rail, will get much more than the market value for them.

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation has come out with a system to evaluate the hardships caused and compensate them. Starting from Rs. 24,000, the value of hardships can go up to over Rs. 6.5 lakh in some cases. And it is over and above the market value that the owners get. The additional compensation was to mitigate inconvenience caused, meet shifting expenses and to make up for the business losses suffered and the cost of relocation of businesses, according to the sources in BMRC.

Even as Bangalore is getting rather restive about the lull on the Bangalore Metro Rail project, a delegation of bureaucrats led by chief secretary B K Das planned to embark on a three-nation junket to study "urban mass transportation system".

Chennai Review
R K Arun


New luxury coaches, built by the Metropolitan Transport Corporation, are ready to hit the city roads. Fitted with pneumatic doors operated by the driver himself and plush seats, the coaches have features that add to passenger comfort and have a more pleasing look, compared to the rickety buses that commuters normally use. Describing the features that have been built into the bus by the MTC's body-building unit, officials say whenever the driver opens or closes the door, a warning lamp and an alarm will alert the boarding/alighting passengers. This can help to avoid footboard travel. This bus has been provided with a fibreglass roof, which is leak-proof. The ceiling of the bus both inside and outside has a mica coat that helps in reducing heat radiation. As the bus has pneumatic doors, passengers will have to signal to the driver by pressing the bell that they want to get down. the date and the route on which the new luxury coaches would be operated had not been finalised yet.

Union Minister of State of Railways has announced that three stations of the Mass Rapid Transit system at Triplicane, Light House and Tirumayilai will get a facelift . The improvement works would include enhancing access to the stations, strengthening security measures and providing more passenger amenities.

Delhi Review
Ashish Vashisht


The Delhi Metro project will enter an exciting phase with the Phase II as DMRC promises to open a new stretch every six months. The Barakhamba-IP Estate line, which is part of Phase I, is to open in November. Shahdara and Dilshad Garden will be opened in June 2008. With the Phase II picking up DMRC plans to cut costs of construction by reducing station area, substituting concrete with flyash and also cutting down on office space.

In another news, can a pillar be your address? Looks like that is what is happening for several people residing close to the elevated Metro tracks who have started using the Metro pillar number as a landmark to find their house. So even though elevated tracks are an eye sore, they are already an integral part of the city geography.

Hyundai Motors which controls the Korean Rotem is actively lobbying for the Rs 2,300 crore contract to suppply 400 trains for the Phase-II of the Delhi Metro. This happened in the backdrop of DMRC cancelling an MOU with BEML over supply of coaches. BEML was to have supplied 312 coaches to DMRC over four years but with Karnataka sales tax levy of up to 12.5 per cent, the coaches were going to be much costiler. The State government has agreed not to levey the heavy tax. BEML builds the coaches in collaboration with Rotem.

The Delhi Bandh over MCD’s sealing drive erupted into violence. DMRC suspended its services from Shastri Park Metro Station to Shahadara after mob threw stones on trains and broke windows near Seelampur. The stone pelting caused an estimated Rs 15 lakh of damage to Metro property. Stung by the losses, DMRC is planning to organize plays with the help of local theatre groups to educate public about the benefits of metro in their life. Also, in an effort to reduce cost of expensive glass, DMRC plans to source the glass locally at 1/5 th the cost.

With the mall mania coming of age, DMRC hopes to open at least 8 mega malls at various stations including Shahdara, Seelampur, Pratap Nagar, Dwarka. The corporation earned Rs 296.22 cr from leasing property last fiscal — more than double of what it earned from traffic operations.

Kolkata Review
Abhejit Agarwal


The delayed completion of the Kolkata Metro extension project between Tollygunge and New Garia is expected to be completed by December 2007, according to Kolkata Metro.

Work on the extension, which will add six new stations to the route, has been on in full swing, despite facing resistance from various sections, including the locals and civic agencies. The six new stations on the route will be Kudghat, Bansdroni, Naktala, Garia Bazar, Pranabnagar and New Garia. The state government is to provide upto 33% of the project costs for the extension.

The much anticipated East-West Corridor Project of the Kolkata Metro is also likely to be bagged by the authority, according to the Kolkata Metro GM. Gathering dust since its conception in 1971, the East-West Metro Corridor Project is to connect Salk Lake in the east to Ramrajatala in the west. There will be 18 stations on the route covering a distance of 18.65 km. The trains will run underground as well as on elevated tracks, and for the first time in the country, the route will go under the Hoogly river through a tunnel.

To be built at an estimated cost of Rs 4078 crore, the corridor is designed for a high density metro of an estimated 60,000 to 75,000 people per hour peak direction trip, according to Metro Officials. Some of the proposed stations on the East-West corridor include New Das Nagar, Howrah Station, Metro Central Station, Sealdah, Salt Lake and New Town.

The Kolkata Metro is in talks with the State government which in turn has proposed to share the costs with the Indian Railways. In a positive development for the project, the Japan Bank for International Co-operation has evinced interest in funding the much needed corridor. With the two stations at Sealdah and Howrah receiving up to 30 lakh commuters everyday, the need for the new corridor has become acute. Added to the problem is Kolkata’s limited road coverage at a mere 7 percent, thus making an underground rail transit option very attractive.

Coming to surface transport, a private logistics company, Kaushik Logistics, has launched an inter-city bus service from Kolkata with an all-Volvo fleet. The service will connect provide safe and reliable bus options to more than 50 destinations in the north, east and the north-east. The buses will run from the Esplanade Terminus.

The city has also introduced a water transport system in the Circular-New Cut-Keshtopur canal and currently passengers can travel between Chitpore and Lake Town, and once the next phase is implemented, up to New Town. The service is hoped to extend its reach to as far as the Sundarbans in the coming years. Once fully implemented, the water transport system will greatly benefit quicker movement of perishable goods to Kolkata from the villages and suburbs and tourism too will get a boost.

Hyderabad Review
Roopesh Kohad


Third line of Hyderabad Metro between Tarnaka & Hitec City has been realigned. Instead of going via Greenlands > Punjagutta > Banjara Hills > Jubilee Hills route, it will now be built along Begumpet > Ameerpet > Madhuranagar > Yousufguda > Jubilee Hills route. Project Director N.V.S. Reddy says the route change was made on technical grounds, prospective `ridership' and prospect of fewer demolitions.

AP Govt. has setup two high-powered committees of senior officials to finalise bid documents, funding pattern and route alignment for the metro. The first committee headed by Chief Secretary J. Harinarayana will examine technical specifications, structure of proposed Hyderabad Metro Rail Corporation, equity participation by Government and developer, guarantees and obligations on both sides and legal aspects. The other coordination committee will be chaired by Mr. S.P. Singh and will have Mr. Chatterjee, Central Power Distribution Company CMD Sai Prasad, RTC MD M.V. Krishna Rao, HUDA VC Jayesh Ranjan, MCH Commissioner Sanjay Jaju, HMWSSB MD Jawahar Reddy, Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy Collectors. This committee will look into land acquisition, shifting of utilities and provision of support services to implement the project with tight timelines.

Soon prospective developers will be given instruction papers and request for proposal documents, technical and performance specifications and concessionaire agreement. Selection of developers will be announced in December.

Mumbai Review
Abhejit Agarwal


The second line of the Mumbai Metro’s first phase was approved by the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) in a board meeting headed by Vilasrao Deshmukh, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. The Mankhurd-Bandra-Charkop line is the reconfigured route passed by the authorities after the earlier proposed Colaba-Charkop line was found to be unviable. The remaining part of this realigned line, from Mahim to Colaba, will be underground and taken up at a later stage, according to the CM.

According to state officials, the original route from Colaba to Charkop would have costed Rs 12,000 crore and it was decided to reconfigure the route to attract private sector companies and make it financially viable. A new feasibility study is being conducted for the route and this corridor is meant to connect with the realigned Mankhurd-Bandra-Charkop route.

This will be the second East-West corridor of the Mumbai Metro after the first Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar line and is slated to be functional by 2011. The project’s estimated cost is Rs 6,192 crore. There will be a special purpose vehicle that will be formed for this ‘build, operate, own, transfer’ project with the state government holding a 26 percent stake. The authority also decided that the state government will bear the viability gap funding of approximately Rs 1,658 crore.

The second line is an entirely elevated structure that will be 31.87 km long and have 27 stations at gaps of 1 km to 1.2 km. Approximately 12.75 lakh passengers are expected to use the line once it is operational. 20.62 hectares of land are needed at Charkop and Mankhurd to construct the terminal building and other necessary infrastructure. Two metro depots are also to come up at the Mankhurd and Charkop stations.

The 27 stations include Malad, Kasturi Park, bangur Nagar, Oshiwara, Samarth Nagar, Shastri Nagar, DN Nagar, JVPD, Vile Parle, Khar, Bandra, BKC, Kurla and Shivaji Chowk. At Kurla, the Metro station will be constructed above the existing railway station.

Meanwhile, the center has decided to pay for the Rs 650 crore viability gap funding for the first line of Phase 1. According to officials, the physical work for the line is expected to start in early November. The contractor for the first line is Mumbai Metro I, a consortium of Reliance Energy, Connex and Hong Kong MRT.

Entry Guidelines

Entries are invited for the India Urban Transportation Review for the cities of Kochi and Ahmedabad. City review should be between 100-200 words. If you want to contribute on any of the cities already covered, you must collaborate with the current authors.

Full length feature articles are also invited. The article should be relevant to urban transporation and provide information and/or offer a case study. The article should be between 1000-2000 words. For more information contact the editor.

To send email your articles, questions & comments, or to contact any of the authors send email to the Editor, ashishvashisht@yahoo.com

Monday, September 04, 2006

IUT Review Vol. I No. 8

India Urban Transportation Review, August 2006
Vol. I No. 8

* From the Editor
* Bangalore Review
* Chennai Review
* Delhi Review
* Kolkata Review
* Hyderabad Review
* Mumbai Review
* Entry Guidelines

From the Editor
Ashish Vashisht


Dear public transport fans,

Welcome to another month in India's urban transport. In August, Bangalore got ready for construction of its metro and faced a few hiccups on the way. In Chennai, the Metro is back on track with again talk of reports, dates and deadlines. We would have to wait and watch how far the Metro goes this time.

Delhi awards contracts for the Phase-II of the project while the Northern Railway also works on providing better connectivity to the Metro. In Kolkata, the "yes but no but yes but no" State government again decides to favour the indigenous Metro over the "foreign" Metro proposed by the DMRC. The Hyderabad Metro awaits work, as the city wants to strenghten its Outer Ring Road and the Airport. In Mumbai, as the upcoming Metro encounters a funding deadlock, both the BEST buses and the commuter trains network go for an upgrade.

As before, the website for the future India Urban Transportation Society is at http://www.iuts.org where you can find all previous issues of the IUTR.

Bangalore Review
Ashish Vashisht & Ashwin Hegde


As Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRC) is getting ready to start road-digging work to shift Bangalore Electricity Supply Company power lines from Chinnaswamy stadium up to Byappanahalli, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) is yet to permission for road cutting. The BMRCL is conducting a joint survey with the BMP for determining the number and type of trees that come in the Metro alignment and may have to be pruned or felled. Also on are discussions on road alignment, land acquisition, relocation of bus-shelters.

The BMRC is also working on a new draft law to provide for easier and faster implementation of mass rapid transport systems in the State. The new law will enable the State Government to accept any financial model — private funding or public-private joint venture. Other issues which will be covered include safety regulations, setting up of any authority to ensure safety of commuters, appointment of accident claims commissioner, procedures to determine fare, land acquisition, rehabilitation of displaced families, payment of compensation, surveys to be conducted, alignments of the projects and traffic management during construction.

Chennai Review
R K Arun


Chennai Metro back on track

After encountering some hurdles this January, the project is under way, as the Tamil Nadu Government has released a part of the sum agreed upon for the Detailed Project Report, which is being prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). DMRC Managing Director E. Sreedharan has said to the hindu that he has received a letter from the State Government giving the go-ahead for the preparation of the report, which is to be completed in six months. Efforts would be made to complete the report in just three months. "Subject to clearance, the work would start by June 2007, the target is to open the first section of Line I in about three years," he said.

As per the plan, two corridors covering 45.08 km will be constructed under Phase-I. A north-south corridor of 31.54-km length will connect the airport to Tiruvottiyur is likely to have an 8.4-km underground stretch, of which 6.4 km will be from Jail Road to Egmore along Paraksam Street and Central Station, while a two-km underground section is proposed to be constructed near the airport.

While the report is being prepared, there can be some design changes and some parts may be made elevated. As for the 23.1-km route, it will be an entirely elevated corridor with double elevation over Gemini Flyover, as there is no space along the side of this flyover.

The other corridor of 13.54-km length will run from east to west. This fully elevated corridor will connect Ponnamallee High Road to Beach-Harbour. Both the corridors will have an interchange facility at Central Station where people will be able to switch line.

Non-stop Yellow Line buses

Chennai city will soon have non-stop 'Yellow Line' and limited stop 'Blue Line' buses, as is being operated in neighbouring states, transport minister told the assembly. This would help people to commute from one point to another much faster, he added. As had been done in other States, the Tamil Nadu Government would take private Super-deluxe buses on rent for operating them on long distance inter-state routes to provide safe and comfortable journey to passengers. The buses would be taken on rent through open tenders.

The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) is planning to redesign the double decker buses that are currently operation. The corporation has suggested the manufacturing company re-model the chassis of the buses in such a way as to reduce the height of the bus by atleast a foot and to include two doors in the lower deck and two entrances to the upper deck. The decision has been taken to rectify certain disadvantages found in the buses in operation.

Delhi Review
Ashish Vashisht


Delhi has three major long distance train stations: New Delhi, Old Delhi and Nizamuddin. To decongest these existing stations, Northern Railway has proposed mega terminals, at Anand Vihar in East Delhi (to be operational by 2008), at Bijwasan near Dwarka, at Shakur Basti in North West and at Holambi Kalan in North. All of these stations are to be connected to the Delhi Metro stations.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) awarded the contract for general consultancy for Phase-II of the Metro Project to a consortium of five companies -- Pacific Consultants International (PCI), Parsons Brinckerhoff International, Japan Railway Technical Services, TONICHI Engineering Consultant and RITES Ltd. These companies were also the general contractors for Phase-I of the project.

The Delhi State government approved an additional Rs. 325 crore for Phase-II of the Metro project thereby increasing its equity from 15% to 19%. This was after the Japanese Bank (JBIC) lowered its equity from 56% to 48%. Also adding to its fleet of 60 trains with four coaches each, the Delhi Metro will be inducting 10 new trains in the next two years. An estimated 475,000 people use the network every day.

Kite flying around Independence Day became a nuisance for the Metro with entangled kites frequently tripping power lines. The problem, which was first observed last year became more pronounced this year with two overhead lines.

In perhaps the first incident of its kind, a DMRC engineer working on one of the lines was killed after being hit by a train. Another engineer escaped with a broken arm. Worst of all, the dead engineer's body was discovered 32 minutes after the mishap occured. The incident has put a serious question mark on the security of maintenance personnel working on the tracks. A communication breakdown between the engineers and the control room has been cited as a reason for the accident. The police registered a case of death by negligence.

Also in August, security was beefed up across the Metro network. Passengers were prohibited from carrying any liquids and eatables on board. Also, the Delhi Metro will get a exclusive security force to prevent terror attacks. Finally, Noida is toying with the idea of connecting Noida and Greater Noida with a monorail or a light rail system.

Kolkata Review
Abhejit Agarwal


The Government of West Bengal has decided to not go with the DMRC for the 22 km expansion of the North-South line of the Kolkata Metro. Although the government was keen to hand over the work to DMRC, they decided against it after they found DMRC’s estimates too high. Another factor that put off the government was the fact that DMRC would be importing most of its equipment for the expanded line.

It has been reported that the state government has asked the Indian Railways to evaluate and carry out the project. The state had earlier asked the DMRC to prepare a detailed project report of the expansion. The state government was also keen on handing over the construction of the new East-West metro line to the DMRC. This modern line would have been built on the lines of the more modern and advanced Delhi Metro, but after considering the high costs, the state has decided to revert back to the railways ministry .

The Railways have claimed that they can carry out the project at half the cost of DMRC’s asking price. According to a railways official, their cost of construction is Rs. 80 to 90 crores per kilometer compared to Rs. 175 crores for the DMRC.

Critics doubt the railways will be able to provide the same world-class infrastructure and services that the DMRC can provide, although the most attractive feature for the state is that it will all be produced within the country.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has evinced interest in constructing the new East-West corridor of the metro. It may be recalled that the government has asked the JICA to construct the 4 km Raichak – Kukrahati bridge with funding provided by the official development assistance (ODA) from Japan. The agency went ahead with a feasibility study only to find the government back down at the last moment and hand the project over to the Salim group from Indonesia.

The East-West Metro rail project will extend from Rajarhat in the North 24-Parganas district to Ramrajatala in Howrah and will be funded by the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC).

Hyderabad Review
Roopesh Kohad


The work on Hyderabad Metro is expected to start by January 2007. Recently reviewing the progress of metro rail project, CM Dr. Y.S. Rajsekhara Reddy directed officials to commence work by January 2007 and finish the first phase by January 2009. The CM instructed the officials to finalise selection of BOT developers by December this year.

Meanwhile on other transport infrastructure front in Hyderabad, there is frantic activity. Hyderabad International Airport is already under construction with earthwork going on slated to finish by Nov. 2008. Then there is a strong proposal of 160 KM long Outer Ring Road (ORR) which is going to circle Hyderabad and some adjoining areas. Both airport and ORR will have connection with metro rail. Though there is no proposal as yet because it is too early to predict but feeding into metro is bound to happen.

Mumbai Review
Abhejit Agarwal


The construction of the first phase of the Mumbai Metro was launched with much fanfare two months ago after the Government and the Reliance consortium finally reached an agreement on the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for the project, with the consortium accepting the bid at a much lower Rs. 650 crores than their asking amount of Rs. 1251 crores. According to a story run by television channel ‘NDTV Profit’, the current VGF of Rs. 650 crores is still Rs. 180 crores too high. According to the news channel, the state government went against the advise of its own Finance department in giving the project to the Reliance consortium which charged for its project consultancy at a rate higher than industry norms.

In addition, the three parties involved in the project, Reliance Energy, the Centre and state governments, are in a deadlock over the funding of the project. While the state government wants the Center to fund all of the VGF, the center is not willing to provide more than 20 percent. The Reliance consortium is also asking for an amount greater than the Rs. 650 crores.

While most of the focus in Mumbai is on the upcoming Mumbai Metro, the city’s bus service run by BEST has also been witnessing an upgrade with the installation of close circuit televisions (CCTV) for enhanced security, smart card machines for automatic fare collection and local call telephone booths.

According to BEST’s General Manager, all the buses will have CCTV’s installed in them by the end of the next three months while 200 buses will have the smart card machine installed. Currently, 50 buses have smart card machines and 30 buses have phones installed. In order to cut down costs, BEST is looking at purchasing CNG-run buses and operating mini-buses on certain routes.

Mumbai’s creaking suburban commuter network is also set to receive a fresh batch of redesigned rakes from the ICF factory in Chennai. According to MVRC officials, these 56 rakes will be in addition to the 101 rakes already approved under the World Bank-funded MUTP and funded by the Railway Board. The delivery of the new coaches will begin in July 2007. While the rakes are being assembled at the ICF factory, the major equipment is being supplied by Siemens of Germany. According to MVRC officials, each rake costs an extra Rs. 30 lakh, but is of a superior quality and build than the existing stock.

Entry Guidelines

Entries are invited for the India Urban Transportation Review for the cities of Kochi and Ahmedabad. City review should be between 100-200 words. If you want to contribute on any of the cities already covered, you must collaborate with the current authors.

Full length feature articles are also invited. The article should be relevant to urban transporation and provide information and/or offer a case study. The article should be between 1000-2000 words. For more information contact the editor.

To send email your articles, questions & comments, or to contact any of the authors send email to the Editor, ashishvashisht@yahoo.com

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

IUT Review Vol. I No. 7

India Urban Transportation Review, July 2006
Vol. I No. 7


In this issue

* From the Editor
* Bangalore Review
* Chennai Review
* Delhi Review
* Kolkata Review
* Hyderabad Review
* Mumbai Review
* Mysore Review
* Entry Guidelines


From the Editor
Ashish Vashisht


Dear urban transportation enthusiasts,

Welcome to another issue of the India Urban Transportation Review.

July was a tragic month for Mumbai, and for India. On July 11 a series of bomb blasts ripped across the local trains network in Mumbai. After Madrid's and London's, Mumbai's mass transit is the third system which became a target of terrorists. After the bombings security was stepped up at public places, especially at the transport infrastructure across the country.

Back to urban transportation news, in Bangalore a legistation to supplant the Mysore Tramways Act of 1906 is on the anvil. In Kolkata Metro the link to the Dum Dum airport was finally opened. On the sidelines of the inaguration, the city dabbles with the future projects such as the LRT and the Metro.

In Chennai the Tamil Nadu State Government, under its second master plan for the development of Chennai Metropolitan Area, would consider a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority for Chennai as suggested in the National Transport Policy. Delhi Metro hired the services of a langur-wall to scare off the rhesus monkeys. Finally, in Mumbai all plans are geared for the Metro construction starting in October.

In this issue, there is a small write-up on Mysore. Also as before, the website for the future India Urban Transportation Society is at http://www.iuts.org where you can find all previous issues of the IUTR.


Bangalore
Ashwin Hegde


Rail link to new Airport
Two years ahead of the scheduled launch of the international airport in Devanahalli, the Infrastructure Development Department has proposed a dedicated, non-stop rail link to the Bangalore International Airport at Devanahalli.

The proposal, on a build, own, operate, transfer (BOOT) model, would be submitted to the Cabinet soon. The railway line would be around 32 km.

The masterplan of the airport has earmarked space for future incorporation of station infrastructure, that can run metro or regular trains.

‘Karnataka Urban Mass Rapid Transport Act’
An omnibus legislation to cover Bangalore Metro and other mass rapid transport systems, is on the anvil. Derived from the Delhi Metro Act, the proposed draft on this has been completed by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC), and will be submitted to the Government for the State Cabinet’s clearance. The legislation will cover only metro rail, but other mass rapid transport systems like mono rail, cable cars and skybuses as well. If adopted, it will supplant the Mysore Tramways Act of 1906.

Miscellaneous
A couple of long delayed flyovers, both constructed by the UP State Bridge Building Corporation, are finally seeing the light of day. These are the Airport Road flyover and the one on Bannerghatta Road near the Jayadeva Institute.

BMTC is talking to Volvo to modify their buses to suit Indian condition as a precondition to their large scale use. These include reducing the horsepower and switching to manual transmission. BMTC hopes to push-up mileage from 1.7 to 2.5 kmpl as well reduce the cost of the buses significantly from their present 74 lakhs.


Chennai Review
R K Arun


Unified Transport Authority:
The State Government, under its second master plan for the development of Chennai Metropolitan Area, would consider a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority for Chennai as suggested in the National Transport Policy. There were also plans to develop transport corridors, allow multi-storied buildings to be constructed in the area, thus creating urbanisable zones, according to Jayanthi, vice chairperson, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA). If implemented, the plan would ensure that public transport system took care of 70 percent of the city’s transport requirements.

New transport networks under study
Official agencies involved with the development of road and transport networks in Chennai are working on the planning and execution of various projects proposed for the metropolis. Under the Tamil Nadu Urban Development Project-III, a couple of flyovers on Anna Salai — one from near Eldams Road to CIT Nagar I Main Road and another from near General Patters Road to the Spencer junction — have been planned, in addition to one on the Poonamallee High Road.

Metro Rail is being talked about and this is said to have two modes of transport — underground and elevated — on one stretch. A feasibility report prepared for the project identified three corridors — Tiruvottiyur to Chennai Airport along Anna Salai (31.54 km), from Chennai beach to Koyambedu along Periyar EVR Salai (13.54 km) and a network of 21.68 km from Tiruvanmiyur to Ambattur Industrial Estate via Lattice Bridge Road, Ramakrishna Mutt Road, Luz Church Road, Eldams Road, Theagaraya Road and Inner Ring Road. In the Tiruvottiyur-Airport project, about 8.4 km had been suggested as an underground system. The remaining would be elevated along the median of the suggested corridors. The latest proposal under discussion is the project for constructing an elevated corridor from War Memorial to Maduravoyal along Poonamallee High Road. As the alignments of the proposed projects are likely to criss-cross each other, the need for a coordinated approach becomes essential.

Airport Expansion
Though the modalities of implementation of the modernization plans of Chennai Airport have yet to be decided, the Airport Authority of India(AAI), has drawn up interim plans. The AAI has already started construction to expand and modify the International Terminal Block at an estimated cost of Rs. 23.47 crores, 20 additional parking bays are being constructed, further AAI has plans for constructing a new domestic terminal building for which the State Government of Tamil Nadu has been asked to hand over 583 hectares of land to the AAI.


Delhi Review
Ashish Vashisht


While Gurgaon link is still pending with the group of ministers, there was some development on extension towards Ghaziabad. The Uttar Pradsh (UP) state government on approved a proposal to extend Delhi Metro Rail to Kaushambi and Vaishali housing schemes in Ghaziabad. The State will pay for most of the construction.

Delhi Metro is gearing up for construction of its extension towards Noida. The first tender for the 7-km Noida section of Phase II of the project was awarded to a joint venture of Gammon India Limited and JMC. The JV firm would undertake construction of three stations and 3.2 km of corridor from New Ashok Nagar to Noida Sector 18. This is the first time the the DMRC would undertake construction activity outside of Delhi in the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh (UP). All this while the Delhi Metro awaits the final approval from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) for the funding model for Phase II of construction.

Also coming up is the ambitious Yamuna Depot and interchange station which will be the changing station for lines going towards Ghaziabad, Noida and Dwarka. The station would simply be called "Yamuna".

To control noise levels at the Commonwealth Games Village, which the upcoming Metro line will touch, the DMRC has asked the National Physical Laboratory of India (NPLI) to suggest ways to keep the volume down in the construction corridor from New Ashok Nagar to the Yamuna bank. In its interim report, NPLI has suggested several noise control measures like erecting half Y-shaped noise barriers, growing straight non-deciduous trees and dense shrubs and environmental barriers like bunds or earth mounds.

Also in July, in a first incident of its kind, a woman allegedly committed suicide by jumping before a Delhi Metro train at Chandni Chowk station. In a similar incident, a 65-year old man with caratact accidently fell on to the tracks. The alert Metro driver of the approaching train applied the emergency brakes and saved the old man's life.

On the lighter side, In an effort to keep rhesus monkeys out of trains and stations, the DMRC has hired the services of one of the rare animals known to scare the creatures - the fierce-looking black faced langur.


Kolkata Review
Abhejit Agarwal


The urban transportation scene in Kolkata was abuzz with activity throughout the month of July with the commissioning of a rail-air link multi-modal transportation system.

Billed as the country’s first rail-air multi-modal transport system, the train line from the city center to Dum Dum airport was inaugurated by the Union Rail Minister, Lalu Yadav, and is expected to take half the time for passengers to get to the airport it would take otherwise in a car. The train services will connect the NSC Bose Airport to the suburban railway system and the Kolkata underground metro system. Added to the convenience to passengers are the obvious benefits to the city’s traffic and pollution levels.

The system is built by the Kolkata Metro authority at a cost of Rs. 87 crores for a length of 3.8 km, including 2.8 km of elevated track. The line begins at the Dum Dum cantonment station and ends at the airport. There is one stop on the route at the Jessore Road station.

According to the government officials present at the inauguration, the WB government is preparing a project report to build the East-West corridor of the Kolkata Metro. The new line will extend from Ramrajatala in the west to Rajarhat in the east. To be built at a cost of Rs. 4000 crores, the line would pass through a tunnel under the river Hoogly. The state government is asking the Railways ministry to fund two-thirds of the project costs.

The state government has also found partners to fund the Rs. 2,400 crore Light Rail Transit project. The two companies, Konkan-Essar and SREI, have expressed their willingness to carry out the Chief Minister’s pet project on a Build-Operate-Transfer basis.

The Konkan-Essar plans include introducing a two-compartment sky bus that will run on elevated tracks and be able to accommodate up to 300 passengers. The upper part of the track can be used as a pedestrian pathway.

The SREI plans include introduction of a high-speed system that is run on technology developed by the German company Siemens. It may be noted that the government had short listed two companies to build the system. These companies, Siemens and Amex International, were willing to provide the technology but not the funding, according to state government officials.

Lastly, Anil Ambani’s Reliance ADAG has initiated talks with TGV of France to bid for the LRT system as well. Sources close to the group said that Reliance Energy Limited might go for a Special Purpose Vehicle with TGV for the project. In addition, Reliance is ready to finance the entire project, unlike other contenders in the fray. CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was keen on the Reliance proposal for this reason, according to sources in the state government.


Hyderbad Review
Roopesh Kohad

There was limited news on Hyderbad this month. The review for the city will cover a broader range of issues next month.

Mumbai Review
Abhejit Agarwal


Work on the Mumbai Metro is set to commence from October this year with the launch set for 2010, including 6 months of full testing. According to officials of the REL led consortium which won the bid to build the first line of the Mumbai Metro from Versova to Ghatkopar, passengers will get a smooth, air-conditioned ride with trains every four minutes with a passenger density of eight persons per sq. ft and a built-in redundancy of 40 percent.

The total cost of the first line is estimated to be Rs. 2,365 crores, with the state government providing a viability gap funding (VGF) of Rs. 650 crores, more than half of the consortium’s initial estimate. One of the main reasons for the consortium’s acceptance of reduced VGF offered by the state government was their decision to take more risk than projected in the initial bid. The initial passenger flow was estimated at 1.5 lakh passengers per day, according to officials, which has now been raised to 5 lakh passengers per day.

The REL-Connex consortium is already talking to rolling stock manufacturers such as Kawasaki, Alsthom, Siemens and Bombardier to design and manufacture the rolling stock for the metro. The consortium is also holding talks with construction majors such as Larsen & Toubro, Gammon India, Punj Lloyd and Afkons for civil works for the underground and elevated tracks. It may be noted that all these companies are veterans of the Delhi Metro.

Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court issued a show cause notice to the Maharashtra Government based on a PIL filed in the court that the state government had approved the Mumbai Metro to be of standard gauge despite the Indian Railways’ advice to use broad gauge. The PIL alleged that a standard gauge system is unsafe and that all other Metro systems in the country were running on broad gauge. The Government responded to the courts queries by saying that the metro plans were under the Tramway Act and not the Indian Railways Act. While the latter is under the jurisdiction of the central government, the former comes under the state government. In addition, standard gauge is used by metro systems worldwide and saves considerable space compared to broad gauge.

Mysore Review
Ashwin Hegde


Electric Trolleys for Mysore - The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation is in the process of finalising plans for introduction of electric trolleys in Mysore. Electric
trolleys are normal buses, but powered by overhead electric cables. KSRTC
has submitted a concept plan to iDeCK (Infrastructure Development Corporation, Karnataka) and the latter is preparing a Detailed Project Report.

If implemented, it will be a first in the country. It will be a bus rapid transport (BRT) system that will gel with the heritage City image of Mysore. Riding comfort, automated ticketing system and zero emission are the attractions for the travelling public.

About Rs 180 crore is reportedly the estimated expenditure for the introductory phase of the electric trolleys for which four roads in Mysore have been identified. Mysore will seek to implement through Central assistance under JN-NURM.


Entry Guidelines

Entries are invited for the India Urban Transportation Review for the cities of Kochi and Ahmedabad. City review should be between 100-200 words. If you want to contribute on any of the cities already covered, you must collaborate with the current authors.

Full length feature articles are also invited. The article should be relevant to urban transporation and provide information and/or offer a case study. The article should be between 1000-2000 words. For more information contact the editor.

To send email your articles, questions & comments, or to contact any of the authors send email to the Editor, ashishvashisht@yahoo.com

Sunday, July 02, 2006

IUT Review Vol. I No. 6

India Urban Transportation Review, June 2006
Vol. I No. 6


In this issue

* From the Editor
* Bangalore Review
* Chennai Review
* Delhi Review
* Kolkata Review
* Hyderabad Review
* Mumbai Review
* Entry Guidelines

From the Editor
Ashish Vashisht


Dear urban transportation enthusiasts,

Welcome to another issue of the India Urban Transportation Review. This past month the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh formally laid the foundation stone of the Bangalore and the Mumbai Metros. The special purpose vehicle (SPV) for Mumbai has been named Mumbai Metro One Pvt. Ltd.

In Chennai, Metro is again in the news with the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority now incharge of the project. The Kolkata Metro is grappling with its aging infrastructure and looking towards the East-West Metro project to get things in high gear.

Hyderabad, the latest city on the Metro bangwagon may see its Metro running from December 2009 if everything goes as planned. All this while the Chief Minister wants to improve the MMTS servies too.

As before, the website for the future India Urban Transportation Society is at http://www.iuts.org where you can find all issues of the IUTR.

Bangalore Review
Ashwin Hegde


Mysore Expressway takeover stalled; PM inaugurates Bangalore Metro, E-City expressway

The major infrastructure news of the month was the botched attempt by the JD(s) govt to nationalize the Bangalore Mysore Infrastucture Corridor (BMIC) project, which managed to push everything else on to the back seat for sometime.

Not satisfied with adverse court rulings both by the High Court and the Supreme Court, including contempt charges against the Chief Secretary, Kumaraswamy tried to be the good son and took on his father's pet peeve. All the talk was of a bill to be rushed through the assembly for the state to take over the project. But HDK had not factored his coalition partners into the calculation. The BJP, less willing to antagonise the courts and more mindful of urban public opinion, since that is where their vote base lies, stalled furiously while at the same time trying hard not to give offence. They offered a legislation that would only take over the "excess land" from the BMIC promoters, which wasn't enough for the CM.

Meanwhile Ashok Kheny, the BMIC head, in a bid to garner public support, threw open one small connector stretch of the project (peripheral ring road connecting Mysore Road to Kanakapura Road, measuring 9.8 kilometre), to much drama including village folks who threatened to dig up the road and a last minute directive from the PWD to not go ahead with the inauguration.

But go ahead he did, the inauguration at the hands of old women and children from the project affected area. Meanwhile, the JD(s) has backed down and bill has been given a quiet burial. The battle has been won but the war is far from over.

Fortunately there were some positives developments towards the end of the month as Manmohan Singh came to Bangalore to lay the foundation stone for two major infrastructure projects, the long awaited Metro and the elevated express-way to Electronic City.

The 33-km metro, of which 26.3 km will be elevated and 6.7 km will be underground, is expected to be completed by December 2011 at a cost of Rs 6,395 crore. The first phase charting a seven-km route will be completed by 2009. Issues regarding precise alignment in some sections still remain to be sorted out. Shifting of utility lines will be the first activity to be taken up. Tenders for the civil work are to be awarded soon.

The elevated highway will connect Bangalore and Hosur, stretching 9.98 km on the NH-7. It is meant to ease the commute of thousands of IT professionals working in Electronics City, primarily at Infosys and, to a lesser extent, Wipro. Perhaps they will name it Murthy's folly someday.

In other news, the BMTC is planning to double its fleet of 25 Volvo buses by the year end. It intends to build an exclusive depot for these buses near the new Shantinagar bus station.

Chennai Review
R K Arun


Metro Rail

The Chennai metro rail is back on track with the Tamil Nadu Cabinet handing over the project implementation to the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority.

In the process, the DMK government has dumped the controversial monorail project envisaged by the predecessor Jayalalithaa regime. “A detailed feasibility report for a metro rail project for Chennai had been sought from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation in May 2004 by the then TN government. But the following year, the Pallavan Transport Consultancy Services Limited had

recommended that the monorail was a better option. After examining all this, it has now been decided to seek feasibility from the DMRC and hand over the implementation of the project to the CMDA,” said an official statement detailing the proceedings at the Cabinet meeting.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Programme Implementation G. K. Vasan visited the DMRC and held discussions with senior officials regarding the project implementation. “It was revealed that the project report is in the final stage of preparation by the DMRC. The detailed project report will take four months to complete,” said a statement from Mr Vasan’s office.

Airport

Amidst the debate over acquring land for expansion and the construction of a new airport, Chennai airport both domestic and international, are in the process of becoming more passenger friendly.

According to Airport Director, as part of the expansion works already going on, 19 new bays have been planned. Out of this, two are ready while two more will be so by september this year. Out of the remaining 15, ten will be on the northern side of the runway and five on the eastern side of the secondary runway.

As part of the plans for development of the domestic airport, 775 square metres of the domestic terminal expansion has been planned. The security hold area will also be expanded by 150 square metres. ''It will be redisigned with new construction so that the flow of passengers is more orderly'', he said.

IT Expressway update

IT Expressway project which was originally scheduled to be completed by April, has been completed only on a 1.3 km stretch. Traffic is now being allowed on an improved portion of the Information Technology corridor from near the Government Women's Polytechnic at Taramani to Madhya Kailash temple.

The plan is to improve the road from the Madhya Kailash temple to Siruseri, a distance of over 20 km. Official sources has told the hindu that work will soon begin on the other side of the stretch. At present, work is going on in the middle portion of the key link that connects the city with the offices of IT majors and dozens of higher educational institutions Authorities plan to complete work on a 3 km stretch in a couple of months. Shifting of service lines and poor planning are among the factors responsible for the delay in execution of the work, sources said.

Recently, IT Minister Maran who held disussions with the officals said the project was likely to be completed early next year and a grade separator from Central Leather Research Institute to Madhya Kailash is also under consideration.

Delhi Review
Ashish Vashisht


The Metro RTV feeder buses, which bear the same silver colour as Metro trains and have the Metro logo on them, will do away with the uniform rate of Rs. 5 per trip. Instead rates will vary from Rs. 2 to Rs. 10 depending on the distance travelled. 147 buses currently ply on Line-1 and 96 buses on Line-3.

In a major decision the Delhi High Court restrained the DMRC from evicting the 300 furniture shops on the Panchkuian Road. DMRC had sought the eviction to widen the roads after construction of Line-3 (Blue line).

The Haryana government has agreed to bear majority of the cost of the extension of the Metro link to Gurgaon. The 6.5 Km link within Haryana is proposed to run through Garden Estate, Sikandarpur, DT City Centre, IFFCO Chowk and Sushant Lok Phase 1. The State would also provide land for the project. Now the major obstacle is the 9 Km link from Qutab to the Haryana border which lies in Delhi. Delhi government does not believe that the link to the border is economically viable and does not wish to pay for it.

In a related news, Reliance Industries is working on a setting up India's largest special economic zone (SEZ) which is to come up near Delhi-Gurgaon. The zone, as proposed, will have an airport, link with the Delhi Metro, an international container depot and adequate supply of power, water and communication facilities.

Current Delhi Metro ridership stands at 5 lakh per day with daily revenues of Rs. 60 lakh. Already there are complaints of overcrowding, especially during peak hours. DMRC is building additional escalators at stations to tackle some of the rush. Also it has 10 new trains on order that would take the total number of trains to 70. In addition there are plans to increase frequency of trains from the current 4 to 5 mintues during peak hours.

The Rajiv Chowk (Connaught Place) station is the busiest on the Metro network with approximately 50,000 passenger entries per day while Kashmere Gate is a close second with 40,000 entries.

The tussle between the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the DMRC continues. The MCD issued a notice to DMRC to remove all advertisements and hoardings from pillars and bridges. MCD says that these are in violation of the Delhi Municipal Act which prohibits public advertisements without the Municipal Commissioners permission. DMRC has refuted the MCD claims saying that the union cabinet has permitted it to display advertisements on its property. We will surely hear lot more on this in the future.

Kolkata Review
Abhejit Agarwal


Over the past few months, the Kolkata Metro has been facing increasing accusations about the falling standards in their management. A number of stations throughout the route have closed counters at both on and off-peak hours, thus causing long queues and great inconvenience to commuters. The problem is especially acute at the stations with the most footfalls, including Dum Dum, Kalighat, Esplande, Chandni Chowk and Rabindra Sadan.

In addition, the Metro is also facing the problem of malfunctioning equipment. Commuters find themselves stuck when the entry and exit stiles do not turn fully when the tickets are scanned. Metro officials attribute this to the varying thickness of the ticket from time to time. In addition, the air conditioners at the Chandni Chowk station have been malfunctioning for a while, with no action taken despite numerous complaints by the commuters. Commuters have also complained about the rising un-cleanliness at the stations with litter and stench greeting passengers at many stations.

Meanwhile, the Civil Defence Department of West Bengal has initiated a disaster management program for the Kolkata Metro by tying up with a London based firm, Scientology Volunteers. Under the program officials from the Metro will go to London to train in rescue operations. In addition, the department will train 68 volunteers that will be posted at all 17 metro stations and assist passengers in case of emergencies and at normal times.

The East-West Metro project seems to be back on track with the Railway ministry agreeing to fund the Rs. 4000 crore project if the state government can put in Rs. 1300 crores to be payable in five years. The detailed project report prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation will be submitted to the railway authorities in six months.

While the initial route was 23 km long, that has been cut down to 16 km with a total of 11 stations. The proposed stations on the new route are Central Park, City Centre, Salt Lake stadium, Narkeldanga Main Road, Phoolbagan, Sealdah station, BB Ganguly Street, BBD Bag, Jagannath Ghat, Howrah station and finally Howrah Maidan.

The train will run on elevated tracks from Newtown to Phoolbagan, existing tracks from Phoolbagan to Sealdah and underground after that. The tracks will run beneath the Hoogly river between Jagannath Gath and Howrah.

Hyderbad Review
Roopesh Kohad


Hyderabad’s first metro rail will operate from January 2009. The works for the metro rail will commence from December 2006 and all the three corridors will be opened for the public by the end of December 2010. The total project cost has been calculated to be Rs. 7986 Crore including taxes which comes to be around 1300 Crore. Of the total project cost, about 35 per cent will be shared by both the Centre and the state government. While the Centre will bear 20 per cent to 25 per cent, the state government will bear 10 per cent to 15 per cent. The Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) developers, who will invest 65 per cent in the project, will be permitted to operate trains and collect revenue on tickets and through advertisements for 35 years and later the entire project would be handed over to the state government.

Meanwhile, the state government has hired the services of a New Delhi based consultant “Span” teaming up with “Semaly” of France for the metro project for 1.45 Crore. The consultant will review detailed project reports (DPR) for MRTS proposed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and assist in the selection of developers through a competitive bidding process and evaluate the technologies proposed by the developers. It will also prepare a suitable financial model and ascertain the real estate potential of the land being offered and help the government in preparing an implementation plan.

Till the metro comes, chief minister Dr. Y.S. Rajshekhar Reddy is pushing to improve MMTS services which are constrained due to bottleneck at Secunderabad.

Mumbai Review
Abhejit Agarwal


The Mumbai Metro Rail Project (MMR) saw hectic activity throughout the month of June, and the project looks set to start within the stipulated timeframe.

The Special Purpose Vehicle for the construction of the first line of the MMR was formed in the first week of June between the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority and the Reliance Energy-led consortium. The SPV has been named Mumbai Metro One Pvt. Ltd.

Besides taking a 26% stake in the SPV through the MMRDA, the state government will acquire the required private land along the 11 km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar route. The MMRDA would pay the compensation for the acquisitions in the form of financial remunerations or transfer of developmental rights. In addition, the state government will approach the center to finance part of the Viability Gap Funding of Rs. 650 crores under its National Urban Renewal Mission.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, laid the foundation stone for the construction of the first line of the MMR on June 21st at a huge function at Vikhroli in northeast Mumbai well attended by functionaries from the respective governments and the private consortium.

Speaking at the occasion, the Prime Minister called for a unified metropolitan transport authority to handle all of Mumbai’s public transportation, as is the case in major cities around the globe. A similar proposal was made a decade ago but was disregarded by the then city planners, but this latest advice from the Prime Minister of India may give fresh impetus to that proposal.

Also present on the occasion were representatives of consortium partner Veolia (formerly Connex), which will construct the system with Reliance Energy and run it once the system is operational. According to the representatives, the company’s main concern is to avoid overcrowding and to ensure that the system runs smoothly in times of anticipated breakdowns.

In a blueprint released by the consortium, the base of the overhead bridge will be from 5.5 to 6 meters from the road surface. The rail track will be 1.5 to 2 meters from the base. Each station would be a three story structure that would have escalators/stairs on the ground floor while the first floor will have the ticket counters and retail outlets. The stations will see near complete automation to limit human interference, including a fully automated ticket collection/issue facility.

As project management consultants, the Hong Kong MTR Corp. will ensure that all work is carried out as per schedule and all components are in place when the line becomes operational.

Entry Guidelines

Entries are invited for the India Urban Transportation Review for the cities of Kochi and Ahmedabad. City review should be between 100-200 words. If you want to contribute on any of the cities already covered, you must collaborate with the current authors.

Full length feature articles are also invited. The article should be relevant to urban transporation and provide information and/or offer a case study. The article should be between 1000-2000 words. For more information contact the editor.

To send email your articles, questions & comments, or to contact any of the authors send email to the Editor, ashishvashisht@yahoo.com

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

IUT Review Vol. I No. 5

India Urban Transportation Review, May 2006
Vol. I No. 5


In this issue

* From the Editor
* Bangalore Review
* Chennai Review
* Delhi Review
* Kolkata Review
* Hyderabad Review
* Mumbai Review
* Entry Guidelines

From the Editor
Ashish Vashisht


Dear urban transportation enthusiasts,

May was the month which saw most progress on Mumbai while Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation decided on its equity structure. The contract for the first phase of the Mumbai Metro was awarded. The Mumbai project is probably the most ambitious for any city in India, perhaps even more ambitious than the Delhi Metro.

In Delhi, the "losses" by DMRC made news while in Chennai, the new (old) flavour is again the Metro. The monorail suddenly seems out of fashion with the new government. On a positive note though, there is some effort to convert the bus fleet to CNG. In Hyderabad there is still a lot of talk of the Metro but very little progress while Kolkata seems still unsure of how it would integrate its legacy metro with the new proposals. Overall the transportation update on Indian cities is as eclectic as the cities themselves. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, launched in December 2005, with plans for urban transport improvement, may bring something new it is hoped.

As before, the website for the future India Urban Transportation Society is at http://www.iuts.org where you can find all issues of the IUTR.

Bangalore Review
Ashish Vashisht & Ashwin Hegde


The government at Centre finally gave a nod to the Bangalore Metro. The new state government in Karnataka has also helped kickstart the process again. A joint venture between the Centre and the State government, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL), will be incharge of the Rs 6,395 crore project. It is proposed that the state government holds 30 percent stake (15 per cent each of equity and subordinate debt) in BMRCL, Centre holds 25 per cent while the remaining 45 percent stake be raised as senior term debt.

Apart from having 10 directors on the board, along with a chairman, the Centre has also proposed setting up three committees to tackle management issues. CM H D Kumaraswamy and Union urban development minister S Jaipal Reddy are expected to sign an MoU on the project in June. The project is expected to be completed by 2011.

Chennai Review
R K Arun


The controversial Mono Rail project, proposed by the previous AIADMK regime to reduce traffic congestion in the metropolis, has been scrapped by the new DMK government which has said that it will now go in for Metro Rail. The previous TN govt invited global tenders for its implementation on a design, build, own, operate and transfer (DBOOT) basis. But it stuck in the quagmire of political opportunism and rivalry.

Metropolitan Transport Corporation(MTC) is confident of changing over to compressed natural gas (CNG) within a year, if the supply of CNG is assured by the Union Environment Ministry. Incidently, recently the government announced that all the metros in country would have CNG buses similar to the ones in New Delhi by the end of 11th Five Year Plan. Chennai, as of now, has no infrastructure ready either to supply fuel or to retail it. If the supply is assured by the Environment Ministry and the necessary infrastructure provided, the implementation of the project would only take less than 12 months, said a senior official of the MTC.

Work on the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) between Tiruvanmiyur and Velachery would be completed by December this year. Works on the 850 metres of the stretch between Perungudi and Velachery is progresssing rapidly. Work on the remaining 750 metres between Taramani and Perungudi will also be completed and ready to begin operations by January 14, 2007, on the occasion of Pongal festival, said Minister of State for Railways after inspecting the stretch. On the proposed expansion of the MRTS from Velachery to St Thomas Mount, he said funds for the project have been allocated in the budget and an "update survey" was to be carried out. Work on that section will commence soon.

Delhi Review
Ashish Vashisht


In May as most of North India was reeling under a heat wave, Delhi and neighboring towns faced massive power crisis. Delhi Metro, which has an uninterrupted power supply arrangement, got some of the blame of "sucking away" most of the power. DMRC was quick to point out that they consume just 1.5 percent of the total power needs of the city and was actually quite energy efficient in its operations.

The government plans to completely phase out bus routes which run parallel to the Metro for a distance of 50% or more. While private bus operators have been asked to shift to other routes, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) will take the buses off completely. According to the Delhi Transport Commissioner, review of bus routes will be done every six months. While some, like the DMRC and a few bus operators whose routes have become uneconomical since the launch of the Metro, have welcomed the move, others have said that this would restrict the choice of transport for commuters.

The tussle between MCD and DMRC continues with the MCD now accusing DMRC of misuing the land allotted to it by continuing to develop commercial properties in and around the stations.

The first elaborate report of the DMRC balance sheets for financial year 2004-05 show Rs. 72.26 crore in revenues, Rs 52.25 crore in expenditure and total losses of 76.33 crore after accounding for depreciation and interest on loans. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has also questioned an understatement of current liabilities on DMRC to the tune of Rs 138.69 crore.

Also in news: the DMRC is doubling the parking rates for vehicles parked beyond eight hours; DMRC in collaboration with Eicher is putting up area maps at all Metro stations. The maps will show station entry and exit along with location of parking areas, concourse areas etc.; The DMRC has proposed 2-km extension of the 6.6-km link between Yamuna Bank and Anand Vihar to link to Ghaziabad. This extension will touch Indirapuram and Vaishali.

Kolkata Review
Abhejit Agarwal


There are questions already about the proposed integration of the two metro lines once the East-West line is completed. While the existing North-South line is a broad gauge line under the Indian Railways, the new line is proposed to be a standard gauge built by an independent entity on the lines of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.

Meanwhile, a Comptroller and Auditor General of India report on the usage of the Pay Roll and Independent Module (PRIME) system has found Kolkata Metro to be one of the railway entities to be deficient in applications and general control. PRIME is a pay roll system developed by the IR to implement uniform online payment and accounting systems over all of its zones.

As of press time, work on the Southern extension from Tollygunge to New Garia is progressing as scheduled. Of the total 8.5 km of the extended line, 6.8 km of the track will follow the Tollygunge Nullah to avoid land acquisition delays.

The state government has also requested the Metro authorities to dredge the last leg of the heavily encroached Tolly Nullah. The dredging by the Metro corporation is expected to be completed this June.

Hyderbad Review
Roopesh Kohad


It is recommended to form an SPV for implementation of Hyderabad MRTS with adequate powers to implement and operate the system on the lines of Delhi Metro. The SPV could be named as Hyderabad Metro Rail Corporation (HMRC). Hyderabad MRTS is going to move into an independent office building likely to be called as “Metro Bhavan” which is going to be readied soon.

MRTS is proposed to have a station every kilometer to cater to more commuters. 26 stations are planned for Miyapur-Chaitanyapuri (25 km), 15 stations for Secunderabad – Falaknuma (13 km) and 22 stations for Hitec City – Tarnaka (22 km).

Overall 63 stations approximately are planned for a length of approx 60 km. The congested areas of city will have more density of stations as compared to other areas.

Andhra Pradesh State Transport Corpotation (APSRTC) has conveyed its interest of participating in the equity of the project. The project has 20% each participation from the central and state government. Rest 60% has to be raised by contractor who is going to execute the project on a BOT basis. It is not yet decided which side of equity divide will APSRTC enter.

Mumbai Review
Abhejit Agarwal


The month of May saw a flurry of activity on the Mumbai urban transportation front. The contract for the first phase of the much-awaited Mumbai Metro was finally awarded to a consortium led by Anil Ambani’s Reliance Energy Limited. The other members of this consortium are the French infrastructure major, Connex, and the Hong Kong MTR.

The Mumbai Metro is divided into three phases at an estimated total cost of Rs. 19,500 crores and the government has set a deadline of 2021 for the completion of all the phases. Once completed, the total length of the system will be 146.5 km, divided into 9 corridors.

Phase 1 has three lines covering a total distance of 60 km at a total cost of Rs. 2,356 crores.. The first line is the 11 km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar line, which will be an all-elevated line having a total of 12 stations. The second and third lines of the first phase are the 38 km Colaba-Mahim-Charkhop and the Mahim-Bandra-Kurla-Mankhurd lines respectively.

The work on the first line is expected to commence from October-November this year and is expected to be ready by 2009. The main point holding up the awarding of the contract was the difference over the viability gap funding which the Reliance consortium was asking for the project. While the consortium asked for Rs. 1,250 crores, the MMRDA stuck at Rs. 650 crores, which was finally agreed upon by the consortium.

In a significant decision, the State government has decided to go with the standard gauge for the project. The standard gauge is 1,455 mm as opposed to 1,676 mm for the broad gauge used by the Indian Railways, while having more than half the turning radius of the broad gauge. The standard gauge will save considerable space and more than a 1,027 crores for the government.

The state government also decided to cover the entire island city with an underground metro, while covering the suburbs with elevated rail. In the first phase, the underground part of the track was to end at Mahalakshmi, but this has been extended to Mahim, thus raising the costs by Rs. 3,000 crores.

Even as work is yet to start on the first phase of the Mumbai Metro, the MMRDA has approached the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to secure loans for the funding of the second phase of the Metro project. The total cost of the second phase is expected to be 10,000 – 12,000 crores.

Entry Guidelines

Entries are invited for the India Urban Transportation Review for the cities of Kochi and Ahmedabad. City review should be between 100-200 words. If you want to contribute on any of the cities already covered, you must collaborate with the current authors.

Full length feature articles are also invited. The article should be relevant to urban transporation and provide information and/or offer a case study. The article should be between 1000-2000 words. For more information contact the editor.

To send email your articles, questions & comments, or to contact any of the authors send email to the Editor, ashishvashisht@yahoo.com

Sunday, May 07, 2006

IUT Review Vol. I No. 4

India Urban Transportation Review, April 2006
Vol. I No. 4

In this issue

* From the Editor
* Bangalore Review
* Chennai Review
* Delhi Review
* Kolkata Review
* Hyderabad Review
* Mumbai Review
* Coming up
* Entry Guidelines

From the Editor
Ashish Vashisht


Dear urban transportation enthusiasts,

Welcome to the monthtly India Urban Transportation Review. It is really interesting to see how the stories in the Indian urban scence have shaped up since the first issue of IUTR was published four months ago. For example now it is almost certain that Bangalore, Mumbai, and now Hyderabad will have a 'Delhi Metro style' mass transit network within the next five years. Also it is very likely that standard gauge will be used on all three projects.

Some hurdles remain however. The endless debate and discussion has derailed progress for a long time, notably on the Bangalore Metro. Many have questioned the need for such an expensive and sophisticated transportation system for Indian cities. Some critics also believe the Delhi Metro has actually stifled development of alternatives such as the BRT, Monorail, Light Rail and the Skybus.

The main point in all of this is missed - Indian cities desperately need fast & reliable public transport. So it is gratifying to see that the promise of Urban Renewal has finally started to shed some of its own inertia and move forward. The real challenge is not in building a Metro though. The real challenge is in integrating all modes public transportation towards that vision of being "fast & reliable".

We have added Hyderabad to our list of 'watched' cities. As before, the website for the future India Urban Transportation Society is at http://www.iuts.org where you can find all issues of IUTR.

Bangalore Review
Ashwin Hegde

Metro clears final hurdle: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs granted approval to the Bangalore Metro project. This is the final step in the arduous journey of clearances that the project has had to obtain. With this, work is expected to start any day now, with a 2011 target for completion of the 33 km first phase.

The projected cost, factoring in inflation over the project's life is about 6,395 crores, 30% of which will be equity and the rest is debt. Along the model of the Delhi Metro, the equity component will be shared equally between the centre and the state. The only negative is that the cabinet did not grant duty exemption as requested by Karnataka.

BMTC to ply 500 buses on 25 grid routes:The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) will put in place 25 grid routes across the city, with 500 dedicated buses. At present, the bus system is organised in a hub-spoke model. Most buses travel to and from one of the three central hubs - Majestic, Market and Shivaji Nagar. As a result, most commuters need to change buses at these points to get from point A to B.

The new routes are primarily meant to decongest the the Central Business District and the three major bus-stands. Many more commuters will now be able to travel from start to destination on a single bus.

The buses on these routes come in bright hues of blue, green and orange, designed with the help of NID, just so commuters can distinguish these grid buses from the others. They will operate along north-south, east-west and diagaonal directions.

Chennai Review
R K Arun

Western Corridor decongestion: A comprehensive plan to decongest the western corridor of the city is proceeding as per schedule, says The Hindu report. The National Highways Authority of India is executing a set of projects, which includes a rotary flyover at the Padi Junction, construction of a 13-km long Chennai bypass connecting NH4 (Poonamallee High Road) and NH5 (Great Northern Trunk Road) and a massive clover-leaf flyover at Maduravoyal. Once these projects are completed traffic snarls will be a thing of the past and heavy vehicles using the Inner Ring Road can be avoided. A four-lane rotary flyover linking Inner Ring Road and Chennai-Tiruvallur High Road is being constructed at a cost of Rs.65 crore. The flyover will have a six-lane passageway for each of its four arm.

Likewise, the 13-km long four-lane highway from Maduravoyal to Madhavaram will have an 3-km elevated highway over the Ambattur Third Main Road and a road overbridge at Pattravakkam Railway Station. Rs. 404 crore had been allotted for widening the two-lane highway between Tambaram and Maduravoyal into a four-lane highway. The rotary flyover will be completed by April 2007 and other projects by November 2007.

Transport solutions: In an attempt to ease the sky-rocketing traffic congestion of Chennai and to find a permanent solution to transportation problems , a one-day seminar organised by the Consumers Association of India was held in Chennai. The seminar examined the possibilities of utilising the various existing forms of public transport system to the optimum and also explore the feasibility of implementing alternate public transport, as a way of easing traffic congestion. The seminar advocated a shift to the public mode of transport like Mass Rapid Transport System, mono-rail and Sky Bus.

Dedicated bus lanes: A recent study has shown that introducing an exclusive lane for buses on the GST Road can improve their efficiency without hindering other modes of transport. V. Thamizh Arasan, professor in the Transport Engineering division of IIT-Madras, says in his study that provision of dedicated lanes could improve the speed of buses by 7.35 per cent on this stretch and the exclusive lanes will not affect other modes of transport. The bus lanes could be either provided at the median or at the kerb. He further said that the system could also be put in place on the Inner Ring Road.

Delhi Review
Ashish Vashisht


Planning for the Commonwealth Games site and the proposed Metro link has picked up steam. Also The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will construct the 7 Km link to Noida Sector 32 from New Ashok Nagar under Phase-II project. The project cost is estimated at Rs. 736 crore. Rs. 611 crore for tracks and Rs. 32 crore for land will be provided by the Noida Board. The cost of rolling stock (Rs. 93 crore) will be borne by the DMRC.

Of the Rs. 611 crore, 15 per cent amount would be provided as grant by the Union Urban Development Ministry and the remaining Rs. 500 crore would be paid by the board in four installments from its own sources. The UP state government would not provide any fund for the project.

The Haryana government is also agressively pushing for a Metro link to Gurgaon. The state government has proposed to share 80% of the cost with a financial model "similar to that of Noida". The cost of the link from Qutub Minar to IFFCO Chowk, of which 7 km is in Haryana and 9 Km is in Delhi, is estimated at Rs.1,579 crore. This includes the cost of land and construction. DMRC will fund the rolling stock. The route alignment is likely to change, escalating the cost even further.

For the first time DMRC has outsourced both the design and construction of the Inderlok-Mundka section of the Phase II of the project. The proposed stations on this route are Inderlok, Ashok Park Main, Punjabi Bagh East, Shivaji Park and Madipur.

Bitten by theft of the expensive smart tokens, estimated at 400 per day, DMRC has decided to use locally manufactured blue tokens which will have an imprint of Qutub Minar on one side and the Metro logo on the other. The new tokens will cost Rs 21 which is one-fifth the cost of the original imported ones.

The 234th flash report of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation says that the Delhi Metro project is running behind schedule as it was to be commissioned by March, 2005. DMRC on its part claims that the report is incorrect because the original Phase I envisaged only 55 Km while the current Phase I is 65 Km long. They say that the project is actually ahead of schedule and within budget, inspite of delays in starting work, delays in approval, and numerous changes in route alignments.

The DMRC has is gearing up for fund-raising for the Phase II of the project. The Japanese Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) is financing 48% of Phase II project, compared with 65% in the first phase. The centre and state governments have been asked to increase their share of equity to 19% each. The corporation also has ambitious plans for raising Rs. 1000 crore from leasing land, and from advertisements. The total cost of 53-km second phase has been estimated at Rs. 8118 crore.

Kolkata Review
Abhejit Agarwal

The much delayed and uncertain East-West Corridor of the Kolkata Metro seems to be back on the desks of the Government of West Bengal.

The WB Chief Secretary reviewed the details of the project with the DMRC chief, E Sreedharan. However, the government has made it clear that it will only take a decision after the assembly polls in the state are over.

The DMRC was given the task of preparing a detailed project report on the East-West corridor in 2004, and the final report was submitted last month. The initial cost is pegged at Rs. 3500 crores, but is bound to escalate as the project is delayed. According to DMRC officials, if the work starts now, it will go on for 6 years with the costs reaching Rs. 4500 crores in 2010. The center and state governments will finance 20 percent each of the cost, with the rest to be raised from external debt agencies.

The original DMRC report proposed a 24.9 km long line from New Dasnagar in Howrah to Rajarhat. The state government, however prefers two new alignments to the line. The first proposed route is of 15 km from Kadamtala, Howrah to Sector V in Salt Lake. This line will have a total of 15 stations. The second alignment proposes a 16 station, 18 km line from New Dasnagar to Salt Lake. In addition, a carshed is planned in Dasnagar.

Meanwhile, the Kolkata Metro has seen a rise in the ridership of the system. In 2005-06, the Metro carried 10.8 crore commuters, up 10.5 percent from the previous year. Commercial usage and earnings have gone up by 38 percent over the previous year. According the Metro officials, a new rail track between the Kolkata Airport and Dum Dum cantonment is ready and will be operational from May this year. The new North-South Metro extension from Tollygunge to Garia is expected to be ready by December 2007.

Hyderbad Review
Roopesh Kohad


The central government has cleared Hyderabad Metro rail project earlier this month along with those of Bangalore and Mumbai. This was announced by Union Minister for Urban Development Jaipal Reddy. The project aptly named as Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) will cover three corridors in first phase totaling 59.45 kms. The corridors will be Miyapur – Chaitanyapuri (25 km), Tarnaka – Punjagutta – Hitec City (20 km) and Secunderabad – Falaknuma (13 km). The work is expected to start from the end of year 2006.

The gauge for Hyderabad MRTS has been decided to be Standard Gauge keeping in mind the rocky terrain of Hyderabad and congested areas through which it will have to pass. The state government has already short listed SREI Infrastructure Finance Ltd. led consortia for this Rs. 4300 crore project. The consortia include Essar Contruction, Singapore Technologies and SMRT Corporation. The project would take almost three years to construct and implement the first two corridors and another two years for the third corridor. As per estimates 11.11 lakh commuters would use the MRTS per day in 2008. The state government is mulling to levy a cess of 25 paise on petrol and diesel purchase in the twin-city to raise funds for the project.

Mumbai Review
Abhejit Agarwal


The work on the first phase of the Mumbai Metro rail project is slated to begin in June, according to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. According to the CM, the review of bids for the Versova-Ghatkopar corridor under phase one of the metro was in the final stages.

The state government is keen to ensure that there are no fund constraints for the Metro rail project. The Chief Minister is planning to visit Tokyo soon to secure a soft loan from Japan. The total planned expenditure for the system is estimated to be $4 billion and the government has set a deadline of 2021 to complete all the three phrases.

According to latest news reports, the second phase of MUTP may get delayed as the Government of Maharshtra and the Ministry of Railways are yet to decide on who will bear the costs. Thus, the funding from the World Bank for the second phase could also be affected if the two sides are unable to work out a common funding model.

The Western Railway has decided to introduce 13 short distance train services on the suburban commuter network. This will mean a less crowded train ride especially for commuters traveling beyond Borivali.

The entire exercise will augment the total carrying capacity by 2 percent. In addition, when the 9 coach rakes are increased to 12 rake coaches, the carrying capacity of the system will go up by a further 13.5 percent.

Under the second phase of the Mumbai Urban Transportation Project, the Western Railway has ordered 158 new rakes to replace the old ones. According to the GM, Western Railways, the first prototype of the new rakes is expected by September-October this year. They are expected to start plying by the end of 2008 once their design is tested and proven.

BEST, on the other hand, is also looking to augment its fleet with newer and better buses. Under the MUTP, a total of 644 single decker buses will be inducted into its fleet for 103 crores.

On a positive note, the World Bank has indicated that it might resume funding for the road and resettlement component of the MUTP. The World Bank, citing irregularities, had suspended a loan of Rs. 500 crore in March, causing the embarrassed state government to go into overdrive to overcome the bank’s objections.

Similarly, after Mumbai was excluded from the first list of cities to benefit from the Center’s National Urban Renewal Mission, the center has agreed to fund 20% of the first phase of the Mumbai Metro. The center may contribute more to the viability gap funding as well, according to the Union Urban Development Minister.

Coming up
In future issues


Gearing up for the 2010 Commonwealth Games - A Review of the Transportation Network in Delhi
Vaibhav Sarin

Entry Guidelines

Entries are invited for the India Urban Transportation Review for the cities of Kochi and Ahmedabad. City review should be between 100-200 words. If you want to contribute on any of the cities already covered, you must collaborate with the current authors.

Full length feature articles are also invited. The article should be relevant to urban transporation and provide information and/or offer a case study. The article should be between 1000-2000 words. For more information contact the editor.

To send email your articles, questions & comments, or to contact any of the authors send email to ashishvashisht@yahoo.com with subject: IUTR.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

IUT Review Vol. I No. 3

India Urban Transportation Review, March 2006
Vol. I No. 3

In this issue

* From the Editor
* Bangalore Review
* Chennai Review
* Delhi Review
* Kolkata Review
* Mumbai Review
* Coming up
* Entry Guidelines

From the Editor
Ashish Vashisht

Dear urban transportation enthusiasts,

Welcome back to another month's issue of the India Urban Transportation Review. In this month there are additional funds from Japan for Bangalore and Delhi Metros.
Delhi opened its Line 3 (Blue) Dwarka sub-city extension which has brought Metro to within a few kilometres from the Delhi IGI airport. The Empowered Group of Ministers (eGOM) meet finally put the Bangalore Metro firmly under State control. One down, but a few more steps to go for this long awaited project.

As Chennai struggles to upgrade its aging bus fleet, there is little or no progress on the ambitious monorail project. Will this become a figment of someone's imagination is yet to be seen. The Kolkata Metro extension will be delayed (again!) due to land acquisition problems. Add to this the severe financial crunch which the Metro perennially finds itself in.

Mumai Metro may finally start construction in 2007. Special Purpose Vehicle, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation is proposed. Mumbai is the grand-dad of urban transportation networks in South Asia. The Mumbai Metro will hopefully help the city reclaim its crown from the latest craze called Delhi Metro.

The website for the future India Urban Transportation Society is at http://www.iuts.org where you can find all issues of IUTR.

Bangalore Review
Ashwin Hegde

New logo costs Metro Chief his job

The long awaited eGoM meeting finally took place and made major policy decisions putting the ball firmly in the state's court. Future Metro projects will be covered by state legislations such as the Mysore Tramways Act, taking it out of purviews of Indian Railways. Accordingly, states are free to choose the guage, clearing the way for India's first standard gauge project. However, the commissioner for railway safety (CRS), which falls under the Civil Aviation ministry, will be the authority to give safety clearances for Metro projects. The next step in the journey is clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (www.bmrc.co.in) got the governor of Karnataka to unveil their new logo. The logo was selected by a distinguished panel of design/advertising gurus from 400 entries received in open comeptition. The logo, derived from a rangoli pattern, can be interpreted as a ‘track’ looping round a set of ‘destinations’. The colours are green and purple and the tag line is "Namma Metro" (i.e. Our Metro). Inexplicably, the BMRC failed to inform the Chief Minister about the new logo or invite him for the unveiling. The next day, Metro cheif KN Srivastava got his marchinng orders, to be replaced by another IAS officer, proving that the most important part of any job is managing you boss.

Latest: Japan has cleared soft loan for Rs. 1,699 crore (out of the total estimated cost of Rs. 5,300 crore) for the Bangalore Metro.

Chennai Review
R K Arun

The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) the agency that operates the public transport bus service in Chennai is struggling to increase its fleet strength despite an increasing demand for its services. Official sources say about 25-50 buses are replaced periodically, against the need to replace at least 250 old buses.

The MTC has a fleet strength of 2,770. About 2,400 vehicles are on the road everyday. According to the Hindu, a senior official have said that a public transport bus in a city like Chennai should not be used for more than eight years and 250-280 ageing buses should be replaced annually. At present, the average age of any MTC bus is seven-plus. A "substantial number" among them is ten and "we have even buses running continuously for 12 years."

MTC hopes that the funds from the Centre's latest initiative, the National Urban Renewal Mission, could be tapped to procure more buses.

Even while the MTC is unable to replace the old buses, is taking an effort to modernise its fleet, it plans to operate a luxury bus service on an experimental basis. The sleek, sturdier new avtar of its earlier model of buses, which is fitted with fibre glass body and seats, started operations recently between Thiruvottiyur and Tambaram on Route 18.

The bus will be run for another month to check for any weathering effects. Since the summer heat may cause cracks to develop in the body it is to be checked whether the bus can withstand extreme summer heat. MTC officials have told the press that private manufacturers had already come forward to supply the fibre glass material for the body of the buses but a decision on acquiring more luxury buses will be taken only after April, when the study would be complete.

Then regarding the Chennai monorail tender, it has well past it's deadline but there has been no news about it, since the model code of conduct for Tamil nadu elections are in force. Hope we need to wait till the elections get over to hear further news about the monorail project.

Delhi Review
Ashish Vashisht

The 6.5 Km Dwarka sub-city extension was inagurated on March 31. The total length of the Delhi Metro network has gone up to 62 kms. There have been no change in the fares structure. To promote usage, the State Transport Authority has approved 12 routes for RTV feeder bus services. DMRC will further extend the line by 2.5 km from Sector 9 to Sector 22. The Metro is also planned to be linked directly to the Delhi IGI airport from newly opened Dwarka Sector 9 station, extending the Line 3. Other airpor links, such as a link from Sector 22, and a separate direct link to Connaught Place are still on the table.

With the Metro line so close to Gurgaon, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has asked DMRC to consider a link from Dwarka Line 3 to Gurgaon instead of the IIT-Gurgaon link.

Metro will reach Noida before the 2010 games. Noida Authority has decided to fund 80% of cost for the metro line from New Ashok Nagar to Noida. While the rest 20% will be funded by the urban development ministry in form of grants.

As DMRC starts work on the Phase II of the project, an interlinking line is being talked about for Phase III which will run along the Ring Road. This line, it is proposed, will link the different Metro lines to provide better connectivity. DMRC Managing Director, E. Sreedharan, talked about his vision for 'a metro station every 500 metres covering 400 kilometre of the city by 2020.'

With frequent incidents of breakdowns due to birds getting entangled in electric wires, Delhi Metro has installed bird spikes on poles and other electrical installations to prevent the creatures from making nests and perching themselves there.

DMRC has finally decided to go underground through Qutab to Gurgaon in its phase II after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) raised objections. The entire region is a historical site and any construction along the route is bound to throw up some hidden treasures.

Latest: Japan has cleared soft loan for an additional Rs 566 crore to the Phase-II of the Delhi metro project, along with Rs. 1,699 crore for the Bangalore Metro.

Kolkata Review
Abhejit Agarwal

The proposed extension of the North-South line of the Kolkata Metro has hit land acquisition problem and may miss the July 2006 deadline for proposed completion.

The proposed extension was sanctioned by the state government in 1999-2000 at a total project cost of approximately Rs. 907 crore. The extended line will add 8.7 km with six additional stations to the southern end of the Metro line currently culminating at the Tollygunge station. The six stations are Kudghat, Bansdroni, Naktala, Garia Bazar, Pranab Nagar and new Garia. The extended line will be an elevated structure that will run parallel to the Tollygunge canal.

Despite the July deadline looming large, almost 45 percent of the stretch still remains to be completed, and experts and engineers associated with the project have predicted that the delays could push the completion to as late as 2008.

Already, the Kolkata Metro is facing a deep financial crunch, with an annual operating loss of 50 crores, while its annual income has been hovering around 45 crores. In addition, the union government, which has been funding the Metro till date, wants the WB government to take over.

While land has been acquired for most of the stretch, land for the last km of the track still needs to be acquired by the state government and handed to the Metro authorities, and this has been holding up the progress of the entire track. While work is progressing along on the first five stations, the construction of the New Garia station has yet to start.

Admitting that land acquisition, or the lack of it, the Metro spokesman, Samir Chandra Bannerjee, has held up any further progress, thus shifting the target completion date to December 2007. If land is not cleared in time, the Metro might miss the revised deadline as well.

According to engineers working on the project, the entire canal section that runs under the new stretch will be covered and each station will offer ample car parking. The approaching monsoons are a major cause of concern because that will slow the drying of casts.

Meanwhile, the much touted rail-airport connectivity project being constructed by the Kolkata Metro seems to be heading for trouble as well. With a total project outlay of 117 crore and already behind schedule, the transit system envisages linking the airport to the Dumdum – Bongoan section of the circular railway. The new airport line runs from Dumdum cantonment station at a distance of 3.8 km. Around 2.8 km of this stretch is elevated.

Some of the major shortcomings of the new track are that it is 300-400 meters away from the domestic terminal, which is a significant distance for a passenger with luggage to haul. Also, currently, there is only track laid on the line, thus a single trip will take from 20 to 30 minutes. In addition, passengers will have to transfer midway to the Metro to reach the city center.

Mumbai Review
Abhejit Agarwal

The Mumbai Metro

After years of uncertainty, the Mumbai Metro seems finally set to see the light of day, with construction slated to begin in 2007. In what is a positive sign for the future of the urban transport system of the city, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, is taking personal interest in the project and has asked the state to speed up the process. A consortium led by Reliance Energy has emerged as the lowest bidder to undertake phase one.

Earlier this month, the Maharasthra Cabinet approved the first phase of the Metro rail project, which includes two of the three proposed metro lines. The first line is the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar line to be built at an estimated cost of 1500 crores. The second line is the Colaba-Mahim-Charkhop line to be built at an estimated cost of 7432 crores. The third line is the Mahim-Mankund line to be undertaken in the second phase of the project. According to the Chief Minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh, tenders for the Versova-Ghatkopar line have been invited already and the line is expected to be completed by 2009.

Work on the Colaba-Bandra-Charkop line will begin later this year. This 38.24 km route will have an underground stretch of 10.8 km between Colaba and Mahalaxmi. Of the total 36 stations on the route, 11 will be underground. The line is expected to be completed by 2010-11.

The entire project is estimated to be completed in 2021 at a total cost of Rs. 19525 crores. The project envisages 9 lines in 3 phases, covering a total distance of 146.5 km, of which 32.5 km will be underground. According to media reports, the Central government has favored the standard gauge for the tracks, as opposed to the broad gauge proposed by the Indian Railways.

The state proposes to set up the Special Purpose Vehicle, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation, to oversee the project’s implementation. The MMRDA will be the nodal agency for the project. The state has also approved the financial plan for the project. According to the CM, the JBIC has evinced interest in financing part of the project. The state and center are expected to provide 40 percent of the funds each. The fares are expected to be 1.5 times that of BEST fares in 2009 and will rise by 5 percent each year.

Coming up
In future issues

Gearing up for the 2010 Commonwealth Games - A Review of the Transportation Network in Delhi
Vaibhav Sarin

Hyderabad Review
Roopesh Kohad

Entry Guidelines

Entries are invited for the India Urban Transportation Review for the cities of Kochi, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. City review should be between 100-200 words. If you want to contribute on any of the cities already covered, you must collaborate with the current authors.

Full length feature articles are also invited. The article should be relevant to urban transporation and provide information and/or offer a case study. The article should be between 1000-2000 words. For more information contact the editor.

Kindly email your articles, questions & comments directly to ashishvashisht @ yahoo.com