Transport infrastructure is one of the most important factors for a country’s progress. With rapidIndustrialization, Urbanization, Globalization and concentration of large population in urban centers, the cities and towns of the country are growing at a faster pace. To keep this faster pace, for moving people, goods and services, metro rail projects are playing a crucial role not only as a transportation solution but as a means to transform cities.
2. Today, 490 kms of metro lines are operational in 10 different cities in the country. More than 600 kms of metro rail projects are under construction in various cities. In the coming years there will be robust growth in metro rail sector. More than 350 kms of new construction will be started in the next few years as more and more cities are planning for expansion or new constructions of metro rail. In addition to metro rail network, Regional Rapid Transport System (RRTS) is also being introduced to decongest Delhi & NCR. The first phase of RRTS consists of 3 corridors, covering a total length of about 380 kms. This transit system will connect Delhi with Sonepat, Alwar and Meerut.
3. The Government of India is providing financial support in the implementation of metro rail projects by way of Equity and Subordinate Debt aswell as well as sovereign guarantee for multilateral and bilateral loans. The increasing trend of central government budget outlay provided for metro rail projects in last four years is evidence of the ever growing need for metro rail to decongest and enhance mobility in our cities.The average budget outlay of Govt. of India is likely to increase to about Rs 25,000 cr annually, apart from the investments envisaged by the state governments, private partners and ULBs.
4. Various other steps have been taken for the systematic and sustainable growth of metro rail projects in the country. The standards for rolling stock and signaling systems or the metro rail in India have been notified in 2017 after concurrence from Railway Board. The standards for rolling stock also fixes the standards of civil structures. The standards for electrical systems have been concurred by the Railway Board recently and the same will be notified soon.Various new metro systems have already started procurement of the systems as per the notified standards.The detailed specifications for the Automatic Fare Collection System and the complete eco-system based on the Rupay standard has been prepared by NPCI and C-DAC in collaboration with DMRC through a research project sanctioned by MoHUA. BEL has been tasked to manufacture the prototype of the gate trough their ownfunds. Substantial expenditure has already been incurred and the first indigenous gate based on the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) is likely to be launched in October 2018.The specifications of the most advanced signaling system in the world viz. Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) system, which was introduced by Kochi Metro Rail first in the country, is also being formulated jointly by BEL, C-DAC, DMRC, STQC through MoHUA.
5. However, there are numerous other areas for which indigenous standards need to be formulated.These are layout of metro station,platforms, signage& displays, size of tunnels, fire protection systems, disaster management systems, environment friendly and waste management systems, standards for solar panels at stations etc.
6.These indigenous standards will ensure that metro rail sub systems for all new metro projects conform to the prescribed standards thus incentivizing manufacturers to plan for long term investments in the country and set up manufacturing units. This will also bring down the cost of the metro rail constructions and operation.
7. For this purpose, a committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Sh. E. Sreedharan for Standardization and Indigenization in Metro Rail with the following members:
- Chairman Dr. E. Sreedharan
- Sh. H.S. Anand, (for Rolling Stock) Former Director, Rolling Stock, DMRC
- Sh. Sameer Lohani, (for Rolling Stock) Executive Director (Carriage), RDSO, Indian Railways
- Sh. D. K. Sinha, (for signalling) Director, Operations, Kochi Metro Rail
- Sh. Jitendra Tyagi, (for Civil Engineering) MD, Dehradun Metro, Uttrakhand
- Sh. Vipul Kumar, (Track & Civil Structure) Executive Director, Track Modernisation, Railway Board
- Sh. Prashanth Rao (Automatic Fare Collection System) Director Systems, Ahmedabad Metro
- Sh. Anoop Gupta (Traction, Power Supply, Ventilation) Director, Electrical, DMRC
- Sh. Mukund Kumar Sinha, (Member Secretary) OSD (UT) and Ex Officio Joint Secretary, MoHUA
8. The committee is expected to submit its report in 3 months. After 3 months, based on specific task of standardization, Dr. Sreedharan could co-opt the relevant expert members for the task for a specified period of time.