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You will soon be riding metro rail in these 12 cities

Last updated on: October 4, 2010 11:59 IST

You will soon be riding metro rail in these 12 cities

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Sharmistha Mukherjee


Two buses, 120 minutes and a couple of inane conversations later Ritu trod wearily into class at Hindu College, North Campus . . . That was a month ago. Today, Ritu's journey across Delhi is not just faster and cheaper, it is also much more comfortable and spent reading a paperback.

This is not just about Ritu's journey, but one undertaken by Delhi over the last decade -- the short span of time in which Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has made operational a 138 km-long Metro network in and around the capital.

It's a success story that has led urban planners and local governments in many of our larger cities to consider building Metro systems.

Work is on in Chennai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Kochi or Bhopal to set up Metro networks over the next five years.

By next year Mumbai will have its Metro and Mumbaikars can cover the now long and bumpy ride from Versova-Andheri on the western suburban railway to Ghatkopar on the Central line in 21 minutes flat.

"Metro systems have more capacity, are faster and more environment-friendly than buses," says Anurag Chowfla, principal architect at the Delhi-based firm Mani Chowfla Architects.

Agrees V Somasundaram, chief general manager, Chennai Metro Rail Limited. "The share of public transport has reduced from 60 per cent in 1992 to 35-40 per cent in 2010. Ideally, the modal share of public transport should be around 70 per cent. To address the pace at which traffic is increasing, it is essential to have metro systems," he says.

To this effect, the Union government amended the Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act 1978 last year to extend the benefits of mass rapid transit system to all million-plus cities.

There are downsides too as city after city is turned upside down with all the construction activity. Of course, Kolkata was the worst off in this regard -- the country's first Metro project was 23 years in the making.

The construction of the Delhi Metro, in comparison, was faster, and thanks to the capital's spread, tucked away, for the most part neatly, behind metal barricades.

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Image: A woman holds her surfboard as the E line of the subway passes by the West 4th street station in New York.
Photographs: Reuters
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DELHI

Status: Construction started in 1998/138 km operational in Phase I & II/Phase III pending approval.

Length: 146.23 km (elevated), 42.84 km (underground).

Delhi Metro has set a precedent. Around 190 km of the network, costing around Rs 30,571 crore (Rs 305.71 billion) has been constructed in a record time of around 12 years.

E Sreedharan, managing director, DMRC ensured that timelines and cost estimates were strictly adhered to. In fact, the first phase was completed in 7 years 9 months, against the initial target of 10 years.

No wonder the DMRC has been invited to provide consultancy services for building metros in 15 other cities. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has also recommended that the DMRC's traffic management and environmental mitigation measures be documented so that they can be adopted in construction projects of similar magnitude.

At present nearly 1.4 million people in and around the capital travel on the network daily. This number is set to surge to two million during the Commonwealth Games.

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Image: Commuters in a Delhi Metro rail.
Photographs: Reuters
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MUMBAI

Status: Work began in February 2008/ Phase 1 to be commissioned in 2011.

Length: 11 km (elevated).

Mumbai Metro One, a consortium comprising Reliance Energy Limited, Veolia Transport Corporation and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), is constructing Phase 1 at the cost of Rs 2,356 crore (Rs 23.56 billion).

The section is being implemented as a public-private partnership (PPP) and Mumbai Metro One will operate the line for 35 years.

MMRDA plans to develop the Metro network in three phases between 2006 and 2021 at an investment of Rs 36,000 crore (Rs 360 billion). Two other corridors are in the works under phase one -- between Dahisar and Mankhurd (39.2 km) and Colaba-Bandra-Airport (30 km). But the contracts for these are yet to be awarded.

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Photographs: Reuters
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CHENNAI

Status: Construction began in June 2009, entire network to be completed by 2014-15.

Length: 20.5 km (elevated) 22.5 km (underground).

Chennai, which faces the same combination of high density urbanisation and fast growth, is also building a Metro at a cost of Rs 18,000 crore (Rs 180 billion).

"The Metro can carry the same amount of traffic in one direction as seven lanes of buses or 22 lanes of private cars. Once phase one is commissioned, journey time will go down by 50-75 per cent," says Somasundaram.

Chennai Metro Rail Limited, the SPV implementing the project, has tied up funding for phase one, with 59 per cent coming as a soft loan by Japan International Cooperation Agency, 20 per cent from the Central government and the remaining 21 per cent from the state government.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Chennai Metro
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KOLKATA

Status: Construction started in Marcg 2009, to be completed by October 31, 2014.

Length: 14.67 km in all -- 5.77 km (elevated) 8.9 km (underground).

Last year construction began on a 14.67 km long East-West metro corridor from Sector V in Salt Lake to Howrah Maidan, at an estimated cost of Rs 4,676 crore (Rs 46.76 billion).

However, the project is facing difficulty in procuring land at Howrah and Sealdah stations which are run by Indian Railways. Three more extensions are planned for Kolkata Metro which already operates 22.30 km of the Metro network between Dum Dum and Tollygunje.

These include the Rs 2,619 crore (Rs 26.19 billion) Joka-BBD Bag stretch (16.72 km) and two more lines from Dum Dum to Barrackpore and Barasat. Interestingly, Kolkata is the only system operated by Indian Railways.

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Image: Passengers stand on a platform at a metro station in Kolkata.
Photographs: Reuters
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BENGALURU

Status: Construction started in April 2007, first stretch to be commissioned in December 2010, entire network by December 2012.

Length: 42.30 km Phase I/ 33.48 km (elevated) 8.82 km (underground).

Metro projects in Bengaluru are on the fast-track. Two corridors have been planned under phase one, an east-west axis from Baiyappanahalli to Mysore Road (18.1 km) and a north-south axis from Nagadandra to Puttenhalli (14.9 km).

The project, which was approved by the Central government in April 1996 but got off the ground nine years later, will cost Rs 8,158 crore (Rs 81.58 billion). The funds will come from the state and Central government, and loans from financial institutions.

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Image: Hoshalli station in the Bangalore Metro route.
Photographs: Courtesy, Bangalore Metro Rail
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HYDERABAD

Status: To start in March 2011 and complete by 2015. Partly operational by 2012.

Length: 71 km (elevated).

Construction has not started on the Hyderabad Metro, but land acquisition is underway, and will be completed by December 2010.

The estimated cost of constructing the network will be Rs 12,132 crore (Rs 121.32 billion). Larsen & Tourbo, the concessionaire for a period of 35 years (including time required for construction), is building the Hyderabad Metro as a PPP with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) of Rs 1,458 crore (Rs 14.58 billion).

Earlier, the project had been awarded to Maytas Infra Limited. However, the troubled company could not achieve financial closure and the government had to call for a fresh bid. Y M Deosthalee, chief financial officer, L&T, expects the project to break-even in six to seven years.

Traffic on the Hyderabad Metro is estimated to touch 1.5 million by 2014 and 2.2 million by 2024.

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Photographs: Reuters
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THE SMALLER CITIES

The government has received proposals for developing metro systems in Faridabad, Kochi, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad and Bhopal.

KOCHI

In Kochi, a 26 km line is proposed between Alwaye and Thripunithura to be built at a cost of Rs 3,048 crore (Rs 30.48 billion).

The project will be implemented on PPP basis and is scheduled for commissioning in 2013.

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Image: Kochi to get a big boost with the Metro rail.

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JAIPUR

While the Faridabad metro is under consideration of the central government, DMRC has been roped in to construct the Metro network in Jaipur.

It will construct the 9.25 km-long phase one between Mansarover and Chandopole consisting of eight elevated and one underground station at a cost of Rs 1,250 crore (Rs 12.50 billion) -- construction will begin in October-November 2011.

Phase two will link the city on a north-south axis and cost Rs 7,850 crore (Rs 78.50 billion). In all, the Jaipur Metro will have three corridors and a total of 29 stations, all of which is expected to be completed by July 2013.

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Image: Jaipur will get Metro rail by 2013.

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CHANDIGARH

Chandigarh too is considering a Metro system to link its satellite cities of Mohali and Panchkula. In 2008, RITES had proposed to develop seven metro corridors in Chandigarh, three of which spanning 40.97 km will be taken up for development under phase one.

Chandigarh had asked DMRC to prepare a detailed project report in January 2010. The city is likely to get its first metro network by 2013.

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Image: Metro rail to ease traffic in Chandigarh.
Photographs: Reuters
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AHMEDABAD

Ahmedabad had proposed to build five metro corridors spread over 219 km initially. In the project report submitted by DMRC in 2005, cost estimates were worked out to be Rs 4,925 crore (Rs 49.25 billion).

The entire network would be elevated. But the project has made little headway with civic authorities suggesting re-alignment of both the routes proposed for development under phase one.

PTI adds: The ambitious Ahmedabad Metro project will soon get on the fast track as surveys and the detailed project reports on the rail link between the city and Gandhinagar, in the First Phase are in its final stages.

"Studies are on whether an underground Metro line is possible in old areas of the city connecting Kalupur railway station to Income tax Circle," Urban Development Secretary B K Sinha told reporters.

The First Phase plan of the Metro Rail project is to facilitate movement between the city and Gandhinagar, Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board (GIDB) officials said.

"Preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) for Metro Rail system for Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar was initiated by GIDB in 2003 through Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES). The DPR was submitted by DMRC in June 2005," officials said.

However, the project was put on back foot as the state decided to implement the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) first.

In 2008, considering developments in and around Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar, it was decided to go ahead with the Metro Rail Project, officials said.

The rapidly progressing city of Ahmedabad had lacked a credible public transport system in the beginning of 2001, when local city bus service 'Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service' (AMTS), was in dire straits. Following this, the Gujarat government had begun the BRTS project.

Now, the Metro, which would be designed to carry 40,000 passengers per hour -- an estimated 17 lakh (1.7 million) commuters are expected to use the service daily -- would connect Vasna to Akshardham via Ashram Road, Koba Circle (32.65 km) with 31 stations, and Ahmedabad junction to Thaltej via Delhi Darwaja (10.90 km) with 11 stations, in the First Phase.

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Also, in Phase I, the state government has planned to connect airport and Gift city with the metro rail network.

While in the second phase the government plans to lay the metro line from Sarkhej to Indroda Circle in Gandhinagar and other line from Vasna to Sarkhej.

The total project cost is going to be more than Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 100 billion), officials said.

Also, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) named Metrolink Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA) has been formed by Government of Gujarat with an authorised capital of Rs 200 crore (Rs 2 billion) and initial paid-up capital of Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million) for this rail link project.

"The mandate given to DMRC for the revalidation of the alignment and the DPR of the Metro Project for Phase 1 and its extension corridors are likely to be submitted (by DMRC) shortly," officials said.

After the studies, the exact cost and time frame will be available for the completion of Phase I and II.

The city has already got the BRTS, and with the Metro Rail on the anvil, the mass transport system here will be further strengthened.

BHOPAL and INDORE

In Bhopal and Indore, feasibility studies for establishing metro networks are expected to start in October.


Photographs: Reuters
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