Govt Launches I-Metros – Association of Indian Metro Operators

On this past Thursday, Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha launched “I-Metros” – an association of all Indian metro rail companies / operators to exchange ideas and best practices at the “Indian Metros: Collaborating for Excellence” conference held at the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s Metro Bhawan headquarters. The event was attended by DMRC’s Managing Director and representatives from all other metro operators.

As per the Government of India’s press release

The platform will be a forum for exchange of ideas, pooling of knowledge and sharing of experience, best practices, innovations etc. among the Indian Metro Rail companies to nurture excellence in performance.

Speaking on the occasion, Sh. Sinha said that suggestion for such a common platform for idea and experience sharing for all the Metros had come from the Prime Minister himself and that he was glad to see considerable progress in this direction. He expressed confidence that‘I-METROS’ will go a long way if it progresses in the right way in terms of sharing of best practices and adoption of the latest technologies.

As per DMRC’s press release

The objective of forming this association is to provide a common platform for all Metro rail companies for sharing experience, information, best practices, innovations etc. This association will also undertake and promote techno-economic studies and research. It will safeguard the interest and rights of metro rail companies and will be resource tank of information for decision making. This society will be registered under Society Registration Act-1860.

No further details on the association’s structure, future road-map or meeting schedule (weekly, monthly or worst case annually) have been released.

Featured Image: Gurgaon Metro at DLF Cybercity – Photo Copyright: RMRG

My thoughts – It was about time an association like this was formed. Until now, ideas have cross-pollinated unofficially only at an individual level (when employees switch jobs), through engineering/consultancy firms who’ve worked on different projects, and through operators like the DMRC which has performed the initial leg-work to develop metro lines in Jaipur, Kochi and Mumbai.

It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of this initiative as there’s a lot to learn on things related to effective station design & accessibility, public relations and last mile connectivity so that operators do not repeat the same mistakes or stumble along the way as the others did. It would also be appreciated if representatives from established operators leave their huge egos at the door as that has led to major friction and severed relations between different operators in the past.

I’ll set a calendar reminder for myself to revisit this topic in exactly a year from now – hopefully there’ll be something good to share.

For more updates, check out the Home Page of The Metro Rail Guy!

– TMRG

written by

Global traveler who prefers mass rapid transit

20 Responses to "Govt Launches I-Metros – Association of Indian Metro Operators"

  1. Rajkumar Dugar says:

    Hi TMRG, I fully concur with your “My Thoughts”, having seen how BMRCL operates in Bengaluru. Their attitude is “We know everything” and the resulting arrogance spills into taking unilateral anti-people and anti-multi-modal-transport-integration decisions. I wish the top BMRCL Management re-visits the objectives of Namma Metro, and finds out how to reverse their horrible decision of shifting Cantonment Metro Station, quickly

    Reply
    • sham says:

      Please stop this needless tirade.
      Anti-people – there are close to 4 lakh already traveling on Bangalore metro.
      Anti-multi-modal – Railways are at fault, also NHAI to co-operate better as well.
      Cantonment – location is close to proposed suburban terminal near bamboo bazaar.

      Reply
      • Rajkumar Dugar says:

        Hahahahahahaha “Needless” Tirade !?!?!?! ……………………. Unfortunately, None of what you say is true !! Just because 4 lakh people travel, does not make them “pro-people”. They take UNILATERAL DECISIONS with ZERO Public Consultation…………. It is for Metro to integrate with the existing Rly Stations, not the other way around……. Lastly, even if you break down the entire wall of Cantonment Railway Station, Bamboo Bazaar will not get closer integration than what is available at the originally approved location.

        Reply
        • Sham says:

          Sorry, none of what you keep shouting is true. Integration requires equal co-operation between parties, not unequal. If Railways & NHAI do not co-operate & agree to share costs, BMRC cannot do much as they do not have rights over the other partys’ land nor can they be expected to fund all the infra.
          For example, it was NHAI’s direct responsibility to provide pedestrian passes at frequent intervals when they built expressways along Tumkur rd, Hosur rd etc, but they neglected to do it in the first place.

          Now that metro is being built on these roads, NHAI must at least have the courtesy to co-operate with BMRC to build pedestrian passes, but they refuse to or are tardy & take their own sweet time to give permission & agree to cost sharing.

          Likewise, Railways have refused to sell small portion of land permanently for Cant stn entry /exit but want BMRC to keep paying them rent endlessly. Railways thus wants to generate commercial income fron a public infra project.
          Also, as already mentioned, suburban terminal is coming up closer to bamboo bazaar – read up or ask railways before shooting off.

          So, people like you must not keep bawling at BMRC. You could serve better by shouting at NHAI & Railways & urge them to co-operate.

          Reply
          • Rajkumar Dugar says:

            You talk like a BMRCL Management person, but unlike you, I will not get personal. According to you, snatching away a playground used by hundreds of children is ok. Is there no notional price for this playground ? Why was BMRCL sleeping over this matter from early 2014 to mid 2017 ? The bare minimum distance between centre of the playground o the nearest end of the Railway Platforms is 500m. Add to that the length to be walked on the 800m platforms…. That is integration ? Zero Public Consultation in such decisions is ok ? When BMRCL, which has failed to start work on underground of R6, refuses to co-operate in the public interests, why do you expect NHAI and Railways to cooperate ? Ultimately citizens will pay every rupee spent by BMRCL, nobody else will. So, why ignore what was approved, what gives excellent integration with Rlys, Bus and Auto, etc. with good roads and go far away to destroy usage of a playground and claim it is a good decision ? If Railways had sold small portion of land, or given it free, hen the rocks would have got soft and the shaft would not have been required ?!? I request you to kindly stop defending the indefensible, and also not t0o get personal. Thank you 🙂

  2. Sid says:

    You’re expecting too much. I’m wagering 100 rupees this will be a forum for chai-biskoot and hello hi conversations.

    Reply
  3. Joseph says:

    Hi TMRG,

    Great initiative. I glad that atleast there is a platform to share the thoughts for the hard core metro guys.

    I’d love to contribute here from the experience based on Sydney metro perspective and being from India.

    ICMS (Integrated Condition Monitoring System) is going to be the new concept for the upcoming SGT growth trains of Sydney. I will talk about it at a later stage.

    Joseph

    Reply
  4. Sumit Malik says:

    Hi
    Have established metro systems really been egotistical while dealing with the smaller or under-construction networks? Is that the reason BMRCL fired DMRC few years back as general consultants?

    Reply
    • Sham says:

      DMRC as general (main) consultants to BMRC had made huge errors & incorrect cost estimations in DPRs for phases 1 & 2 of Bangalore metro. For example, they assumed terrain same as in delhi when it was known that Bangalore had hard rocky terrain.
      As a result of DMRC’s DPR goof ups, BMRC had to redo both DPRs that delayed tendering for underground sections & set the project back by two years to start with.
      Further, they had been tardy in responding to queries as part of their consultancy after these discrepancies became known.

      At that time, DMRC was in a hurry to try to complete their ph-2 & delhi’s hi-speed airport line in time for common wealth games. As a result, they ended up neglecting their commitment to BMRC as general consultants & were hence fired.

      DMRC in their great rush, ended up ruining construction of the hi-speed airport line also as construction was their responsibility as per agreement with PPP partner Reliance infra.

      The hi-speed line had very poor ridership to start with as DPR projections had been incorrect for it. It had to be shut down to rectify construction defects & Reliance infra walked out & filed for compensation. They recently won the case & DMRC has to pay them a whopping 5060 crores!
      The hi-speed line is no longer hi-speed & runs like any other metro line albeit with expensive rolling stock on expensive infra.

      All these goofups have cost tax payers enormously but nobody questions DMRC for these fiascos.

      Reply
  5. Rocky_NNC says:

    The next would be PM addressing the metros in all cities in Hindi to learn how to prepare for exams & make space available to pakodas & chaiwalas.

    Reply
  6. sham says:

    Mr.Rajkumar Dugar,
    Sorry if you thought I was getting personal, that was not my intention.

    Playground is not being snatched away as you say. Once UG construction is done, it will be restored as per BMRC like they have done in ph-1 (Eg. Minsk square, MG rd boulevard, Vidhana Soudha road etc.). If they don’t, then I will join the fight with you to have it restored.

    Suburban platforms are slated to come up east of inter-city platforms where railways have vacant land. This makes them closer to the playground. There are two entrances planned for metro station. Distance from planned north metro station entry to railway tracks is exactly 260m following the road; & distance from south metro station entry to bamboo bazaar bus stop is exactly 340m by road. A direct sky-walk will reduce distance further.
    The present entrances to Cant station (on N & S sides) are both at the western end of inter-city train platforms. So, if the metro station comes up opposite present railway station entrance, there will be walk component along inter-city platforms & also make the walk to access new suburban train platforms too far (700m+).
    The point is that its better to position the metro station closer to suburban station entrance (that is expected to come up closer to playground) than inter-city train station entrance as much larger number of daily commuters will transfer between metro & suburban rail than between metro & inter-city trains, saving on precious walk time for them, especially during peak hour rush.
    Further, inter-city train passengers can easily transfer to metro at either Whitefield or Baiyyappanahalli or at KSR since metro will be easily accessible at all these other places.

    Public consultations are bad with all agencies & BMRC is no exception. Initially, BMRC was good but a lot of groups misused the opportunity for private interest like CMH traders. If we had a more responsible citizenry that looks over private interests & compromises for overall public good, they may have been more receptive.

    I think BMRC has endeavored to speed things up but land acquisition has delayed start of UG section. Note that they have started all other sections of ph-2, except UG which is under tendering now. Irrespective of delays, it is the duty of NHAI and Railways to cooperate promptly but sadly, they have posed lot of obstacles & demands for unreasonable payments.

    So, please consider all these important aspects too.
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Rajkumar Dugar says:

      Good to know you do not intend to make this personal. (1) To what extent will the playground be restored ? 100% !?! From where will BMRCL get land for – Entry & Exit points / Alighting area / Bare minimum Parking area / Feeder Bus stopping area / Fire engine access for underground station / Widening of existing narrow street along 25% of the perimeter of the playground, etc. Even the previous MD refused to go on record – when I asked him face to face – that the playground will be restored 100%, while also refusing to divulge to what extent the playground will be used up. In addition, the entire playground will be cordoned off during the cut-and-cover construction of the Underground Station…….Good to know that you will fight with to have it restored…. and I assume here that by restoration you too mean 100% and not say 40% !! Secondly, the present average daily footfalls at Cantonment (with Inter-city trains only) is about 60000. People alight by buses and autos at the Main Entrance and walk in, since decades. Thirdly, please come out with distances to walk from centre of platforms to metro train and vice versa. That will be the real distance to be covered. We have given out publicly a conceptual design of a subway from the metro station at the approved location to the centres of all the platforms. From Bamboo Bazaar location, the walk is prohibitively long and against the interests public and of BMRCL too, while increasing congestion and polluion. You evaded the question of the hard rock, the need for shaft and building-demolition – if the land was given free by Railways. Just because some public consultations are bad, as per BMRCL, it cannot unilaterally say all are bad. This is like making sweeping remarks that all Government Officials and Politicians are bad – sorry, I completely disagree.

      Reply
      • sham says:

        Lets make some rough calculations. Area of the playground is (84.5 x 110) + (84.5 x 37/2) = appxly 10,860 sqm or 2.7 acres. Dhanakoti rd is 7m wide as of now. Assuming that it is widened to 10m & land is taken only from the playground along its abutting side, an area of 110 x 3 = 330 sqm will be lost to road widening.
        The five structures for station entry, ventilation & cooling tower etc for the Chikpet stn that is similar are appxly (10 x18) + (6 x 5) + (5 x 12) + (8 x 6) + (14 x 7) = 416 sqm.
        Assuming identical structures are built, a total area of 330 + 416 = appx 746 sqm will be lost or 6.9% of the playground area. So, over 93% of the playground area will remain intact & not 40% !!
        It is likely that road may be widened with acquisition from both sides in which case less land will be used from playground area.

        Parking may not be provided at this station as it is within CBD. No parking is provided in any of the other CBD stations as well due to land issues. Only peripheral stations are provided with parking for almost all metro systems across the world & BMRC is also doing the same.

        Present average daily footfalls at Cantonment is 40,000 (not 60,000).

        I am unable to come up with accurate walk distances to platform centers because I do not know where exactly railways will build new suburban platforms nor the suburban railway station entries but it is likely to be near bamboo bazaar bus stop (adjacent to vacant land with railways).
        Railways do not have vacant land for more platforms on the west side where inter-city trains presently halt. Suburban train platforms will most certainly be closer from this location of metro station than what the distance may have been from inter-city platforms & the previous location due to the positioning of the entrance at western end.

        Walk from intercity platforms will be far but this is less of a concern since metro is already well integrated at Baiyyapppanahalli & will also be well integrated at KSR & Whitefield. So, passengers will find it more convenient to transfer to & from metro at those stations.

        I did not follow your question about hard rock, need for shaft & free land given by railways.
        Railways have not offered free land or agreed to sell land but have insisted on land for rental as I said. They never will offer free land to anyone, including other public agencies for public causes.

        Reply
  7. Rajkumar Dugar says:

    Mr. Sham, there is a huge difference between the values you have considered or assumed, and reality. Simple flaw – with a 10m wide road (as assumed by you / BMRCL) and zero provision for “parking / alighting area”, you will cause a Traffic jam each time a vehicle stops at the Metro Station, which means permanent traffic jam. This is a sure recipe for dissuading people from using this Metro Station. None of the other stations have such a narrow street and no other options. Acquiring private properties on other sides of the road will not be easy after what BMRCL did in Benson Town. None of the “station entry, ventilation & cooling tower” are going to be abutting each other. I think you need to persuade BMRCL to come out with a drawing which shows the Playground – before and after Station construction. That will be the right thing to do instead of claims which can be easily questioned.
    I was stating present average daily footfalls as 40000, until the Station Manager of Cantonment Railway Station corrected me recently, saying it is 60000.
    The fact that you admit that you “do not know where exactly railways will build new suburban platforms nor the suburban railway station entries”, I leave this point as a convenient assumption. I stand by the figure of 500m as the shortest distance (there can be nothing shorter than a straight line between any 2 points) between centre of playground to the Western (and nearest) end of the Platforms. Our simple design for underpass from Metro Station at approved site and the centre of length of any platform shows the length to be walked to any platform to be much shorter than from the Playground.
    You highlighted Railways asking for money as one of the major reasons for shifting. So, my question was : If (hypothetically) railways had given the land free to BMRCL, would that have solved the questions of “hard rock, requirement of shaft and need to demolish buildings in Benson Town” as put out in the media ?
    Lastly, BMRCL follows a standard to have a Mid-tunnel Shaft if the tunnel length is over 1500m. The Station Distance between Metro Station at the approved site and Pottery Town is 1618m. Reducing Station length, this brings the Tunnel length to around 1400m. This can be further reduced (if really required) by minor tweaking of Station location and Tunnel Alignment. Thus there is no need for Mid Tunnel Shaft, which came up suddenly in such a big manner (even the DPR states clearly there is no need for any Property acquisition in the underground section) to ensure BMRCL has its way.
    I guess this forum is not appropriate and convenient for too detailed communication. But I do appreciate your spirit and sourcing of figures, etc. Regards.

    Reply
  8. sham says:

    Sir – Chikpet station is operating fine with very narrow rds all around & with heavy passenger traffic carrying goods. If Dhanakoti road width is increased to even 15m (50ft) with land only from playground, then another 550sqm (5 x 110) will be lost. Total area lost from playground would then become 1296sqm (746+550), which is about 12%. So, 88% of the playground will still remain intact – more than double of of 40%.

    Station entries, ventilation /cooling towers are not going to be abutting each other but they will be along the southeast edge of the playground from what I can see from BMRC’s station alignment plan that shows stn adjacent Dhanakoti road with entries facing the road (& not at the center of the playground).

    I am not making any convenient assumptions – railways never reveal any plans, so I do not know. I only have BMRC’s station locations showing entry /exits. Once construction of the suburban terminal begins, we can estimate distances more accurately. You keep quoting distance as 500m & ignore the fact that there is a suburban station coming up that will be closer. Which should be closer to metro station in your opinion? Inter-city station or Suburban? Both cannot be done.

    Reasons for shifting is not only railways disagreeing to sell small portion of land & allow construction on larger area but also reduction of track length, lesser disruption (since whole of the Cant rly stn parking area will be used) etc..

    I don’t know about Benson town building demolitions in media, not sure but TBM launching needs shaft somewhere other than the same spot where they will build station. If they launch TBM from a planned station end, station construction will be disrupted & get delayed as muck has to be removed from same spot till the section tunneling is completed.
    Space may be tight opposite Cant stn to do both but at playground they may be able to launch TBM & also commence building planned stn more easily, saving on land acquisition for launching shaft elsewhere.
    Regards.

    Reply
    • Rajkumar Dugar says:

      All of us know how people are suffering at City RS on account of poor integration. Chickpet should not be a comparing model. We are in a global City and Technological Capital of India, and we are talking about losing good integration so that we can reduce track length. Life will be totally disrupted for all Bamboo Bazaar residents during construction of the Station. That is fine. BMRCL has no face to talk about delays, after over-shooting dates and even in Phase 2, nothing has been done on the ground for over 3 years. The drawings showing 500m straight line distance to eastern end of platforms are in public domain. BMRCL’s drawing of the playground is known to select few. Anyway, like I said, this is not the platform to go in-depth on this matter. Suffice it to say, BMRCL’s decision is anti-people. Now, as you are fully aware, the entire UG Section is being given a second look. Delay ? Cost ? Responsibility ? BMRCL even went to the extent of refusing to put out the DPR in the public domain, and relented after intense public pressure. This itself speaks volumes about BMRCL’s priorities. You have a right to hold your views. But you will agree that unless there was a problem with this unilateral decision of BMRCL with zero public consultation, this matter would not have become such an issue.

      Reply
  9. Sham says:

    It is not possible to demolish congested areas to provide spacious metro station entries, parking etc everywhere.
    Global cities like Singapore, Hongkong & even New York have metro stns in congested spots – you appear not to be aware.
    Global city does not mean all congested places must be neglected & metro must only pass through better off & spacious areas. Everyone must have access to metro, not just the better off. The station at chikpet is helping thousands of vegetable traders & petty shop keepers. Same way, bamboo bazaar residents will also be benefited.

    I have already stated about tardiness of railways wrt City railway station pedestrian access & construction already in progress on all ph2 routes (except UG). So, grateful if you could please not keep repeating the same things.

    Any routing will always have some supporting & others objecting for various reasons. I’m for integration with suburban rail as it helps far too many daily commuters whose daily commute time is far more important to them than inter-city travelers who can disembark elsewhere & take metro. You are silent about this point despite my asking you. Wonder why?

    I don’t see anything wrong if the UG section is given a relook. Even in Mumbai, UG bids were received too high (in one case it was 77% high) – this is not unusual. After all, if costs are too high, it is tax payers who will finally foot the bill. So, its better they take a good relook & do it as best possible, averting needlessly huge costs, if possible.

    BMRC has put out the DPR for ph2 now after protests by some. So where is the problem?

    Honestly I don’t think this issue is anything at all. Alignment changes happen in most projects based on ground situations. DPR was done by DMRC, a third party. BMRC is the executing agency. They can very well change alignments based on practicality, cost savings, catchment, ease of construction etc.. Fyi Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi have all changed alignments several times. Even Hyderabad did it in old city but they are now thinking of going back to the old alignment. So, it isn’t something to worry too much about IMO.
    Regards

    Reply
  10. Rajkumar Dugar says:

    I too wonder why several issues raised by me are being evaded. As for Suburban Trains, you seem to have missed – I have categorically stated the approved location would be closer to the centre of the platforms compared to the playground. (See above – “Our simple design for underpass from Metro Station at approved site and the centre of length of any platform shows the length to be walked to any platform to be much shorter than from the Playground”). The manner in which BMRCL is “re-looking” at R6, instead of reducing costs, the final bill will go up on account of delays from early 2014 when the DPR was approved. The other way is to reduce facilities to reduce cost. The funny part is BMRCL seems to have problems with DMRC, with Railways, with NH, with Public views and now with Employees too !!! No further comments from me in this thread. Thank you for your indulgence. Best wishes and REAL Regards

    Reply
  11. sham says:

    I have tried to respond to every item raised. Since it still doesn’t seem clear, I will try again – suburban trains will not be stopping at the present inter-city platforms due to scarcity of platform space & insufficient room for expansion in the west. SWR plans to build new platforms & terminal near bamboo bazaar east of present platforms where they have vacant land. This will be closer to metro station.
    You are correct in your assessment about longer distance to existing inter-city platforms from new metro station location but that won’t hold good once suburban platforms are built. See links below :

    “We have the land near the Bamboo Bazaar area. We only need to build a terminal like Churchgate in Mumbai,” a railway official said. The railways has plans to connect the proposed metro lane with the suburban terminal through a skywalk or subway later.”

    https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/bengaluru-suburban-rail-terminal-planned-at-cantt-station/articleshow/61959817.cms

    “In December 2017, the Bengaluru Division announced its plans to add two platforms in the vacant land available towards the Frazer Town side. “Work for this has been proposed by SWR at a cost of Rs 35 crore and is under consideration by Railway Board.”

    https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/230118/cantonment-railway-station-upgrade-plan-reaches-board.html

    And there isn’t anything like ‘approved location’. Like I said, there can be changes based on ground realities or situations – its entirely up to the responsible metro agency. Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata & Hyderabad have all changed alignments several times more than BMRC from what they had initially planned (or what was ‘approved’, if you insist). In fact, this is perhaps the first & only change done by BMRC.

    DPR for ph2 has made provision for 5% annual cost escalation. And cost escalation happens with every metro project, in fact almost every infra project in India & also abroad. BMRC is not alone though I agree the endeavor should be to minimize it. Chennai, Hyderabad & Kolkata have far worse cost escalations – nothing new. Indian railways projects are the worst by far. But it is important to plan thoroughly before commencing the job since expeditious work progress saves money much more than the delays during planning stages.

    It isn’t surprising nor funny for metro agencies to have problems. Chennai & Hyderabad had their issues with DMRC from start & never appointed DMRC as consultants. Delhi had problems with NHAI & had to abandon half built piers. Mumbai’s first line took six long years for just 11.4km mainly because of railway issues, also land acquisition. Mumbai is again facing public ire for depot at Aarey near milk colony, dumping muck by lakeside. Their depot location for the NS line is still not fixed. They are also facing issues with alignment in south Mumbai & about construction noise. Chennai had issues with a UG contractor who abandoned the project & left. They re-tendered & appointed another contractor, hence project has huge delayed. Hyderabad also had issues with old city alignment where no work has started yet after six years. Delhi metro staff have gone on strike multiple times. The list goes on & on, & this isn’t just in india. Even abroad there are such instances.

    Best Regards

    Reply

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