Fast Tracking Public Mobility
In India, we have today 76 cities with population over a million. As per the urban transport policy of India, metro rail technology (MRT), a proven and established solution in urban mobility, is envisaged in cities with population exceeding two million and is presently being mooted in more than 20 cities. Although commendable work has been done over the past decade on the urban transportation front, persistent efforts are required to meet the challenges that still lie ahead.
Growing cities, increasing population, congested traffic and changing demographics invariably call for a paradigm shift from private modes of transportation to public transport. A glance at the world’s developing nations indicates that well planned Mass Rapid Transit Systems (MRTS) are operating efficiently and profitably with growing ridership. India (like many other developing countries) however has lagged behind though studies and projections in Detailed Project Reports indicate that most cities in India have the highest Peak hour Per Direction Traffic (PHPDT). Incidentally, the first metro rail network in India started operating in Kolkata over 25 years ago based on the now obsolete Cam Controller Technology.
It is estimated that an investment of over `2 lakhCr is required to complete the metro rail projects being planned. The projected costs include cost of construction and related civil works and cost of the systems including procurement of latest technology Rolling Stock, Signaling Systems based on Computer Based Train Control Technology, Energy efficient Power Supply and Electrification and Track Design & Installation.
The major bottlenecks in implementation could be attributed to lack of funds availability and infrastructure planning given that such projects require huge capital investments, a long gestation period and complex technology. The lack of integration between various systems of mass transportation and the absence of comprehensive traffic and transportation planning are also areas that need to be addressed by the relevant civic authorities in each state.
Indian Government is today focused to create a world class urban transport infrastructure in our cities modelled on the highly efficient, safe and proven operation of Delhi Metro over the last decade. The addition of Metro Lines which have begun revenue operation in recent months at Mumbai, Bengaluru, Jaipur and Chennai are a step in the right direction. The cities of Hyderabad and Kochi shall also have metros which will be in operation in the next few months. Lucknow and Noida – Greater Noida metro projects are already initiated. The proposals for MRTS for Nagpur, Pune, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Ahmedabad, Kanpur, Varanasi, Meerut, Agra, Bhopal, Indore, Patna, Raipur, Bhubaneshwar, Vijaywada, Vizag and Faridabad are being chalked out and under various stages of initiation for implementation.
The global transportation companies with their cutting-edge technology are investing big money in India’s metro rail sector. For instance; Alstom Transport, a global leader in rail transport and urban metro is the only player present with a full gamut of solutions comprising of Rolling Stock, Signaling & Telecom, Power Supply and Electrification and Track work all with competencies in house from Design to Manufacturing, Testing, Supply and Commissioning. Their state of the art factory at Sri City, near Chennai is delivering train sets locally manufactured in India to Chennai Metro Rail Limited under its existing contract for supply of 168 cars comprising of 42 train sets each of four cars. The first nine train sets were manufactured in France and the remaining are being built at Sri City with over 16 train sets locally manufactured, delivered and in revenue service. Alstom is also currently executing the Kochi Metro Rolling Stock Contract for supply of 75 cars comprising of 25 train sets each of three car configuration from their Sri City manufacturing unit.
The French major, a serious contender for metro and rail infrastructure projects in the country, invested crores of rupees in its Sri City facility in 2010-11.
“Our state of the art facility at Sri City located about 70km from Chennai built over an area of 22208sqmt has an energy efficient design with eco-friendly materials used for construction which enables optimized utilization of resources. We have ensured natural lighting of the building through design of the sky roof (5% of roof area ) and there is natural ventilation through engineered window design (10% of wall area). Energy efficient lights for the building, thermal insulated roofs for shop floor, rain water harvesting using a natural reservoir, preservation of top soil at the site for landscaping, scrap yard for segregated hazardous and non-hazardous wastes and preservation of 300 mango trees are some of the salient features of our site. Set up at a cost of about `630Cr, the facility today has a current capacity of producing 120 cars per year which can easily be scalable to 250 cars per annum with minimum capital expenditure. Alstom today has established Engineering and Design capabilities at Bengaluru in India for Rolling Stock and Transport Information Solutions. The company has invested heavily in building transport infrastructure and skilled human resources locally to support the Make in India initiative of the Government.” Said Preetam Ganguly, Customer Director Alstom Transport India Ltd & Asia Pacific.