Pacing Towards Perfection
By Shristi Nangalia
After six successful years of exchanging ideas and experiences, ITP Media (India) called to order the 7th Annual Metro Rail India Summit, which witnessed the presence of eminent industry professionals at Shangri-la’s Eros Hotel, New Delhi, on March 21, 2018. The day-long event revolved around operation & maintenance, role of technology, safety & hazards, project management, skilled manpower, environment, policy and project finance in the ever-changing metro rail sector of India.
Bibhor Srivastava, group publishing director, ITP Media (India), welcomed the attendees during his opening address. With an aim to catch up with all the advancements in the industry, through this event, Srivastava opened the forum afresh.
Dr Pawan Kumar, associate TCP, Town and Country Planning Organisation, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India, delivered the keynote address. Citing many examples, Kumar said that metro rail adds to the image of the country and that, “this system should be efficient and well defined. It is important for us to intervene and improve the system, so as to let the end-users enjoy it to the fullest.”
In his special address, Pravin Darade, additional metropolitan commissioner – I and project director, MUTP, MMRDA, spoke about the recent developments that have taken place in Mumbai’s metro network, and highlighted the ongoing & upcoming projects that will help decongest the city in the future. Talking about the challenges they face, Darade pointed out, “We do not know what lies under the roads; there are water pipelines, electricity lines, gas pipelines, sewage lines and more; agencies like PWD, MSRDC, SRPF and many other corporations are associated with the project. We are trying to overcome the issues that ultimately help us move forward.”
Vivek Jain, marketing manager – smart cities & public urban segment, Philips Lighting India, deliberated on the concept of ‘Light Beyond Illumination for Metro Rail’ in his presentation. Jain strongly believes that the experience and perception in any metro station can be uplifted by lighting spaces well, thereby increasing ridership. “Light affects our daily rhythm; it can make us fall asleep, feel relaxed and more. The right light, right level of light and right colour of light can make us feel more alert too. Knowing the heat map at different parts of the station, light can help manage the crowd better,” suggested Jain.
Following this, the first panel discussion that focussed on ‘Efficient Operation, Project Management, Standardisation and Sustainable Development in the Metro Rail System’ commenced. A K Garg, executive director – electrical, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation; Mahendra Kumar, director – rolling stock & systems, Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation; Dilip Jadeja, VP – rolling stock & electrical, IL&FS Rail (Rapid Metro Gurgaon); Rajesh Kumar, ED – urban transport & high speed rail, RDSO; Satish Kumar, advisor – O&M, Kochi Metro Rail; Bruno Vantu, country director – Rail, Egis; Saurav Choudhury, associate counsellor, IGBC; and Daljeet Singh, director, works, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, took part in the dialogue. Ashish Rakheja, managing partner, AEON Integrated Building Design Consultants, being the moderator of the panel, introduced the topic and kick-started the discussion.
Rakheja asked Garg about the measures DMRC is taking to achieve operational efficiency. “DMRC has been focusing on sustainability since the beginning. We are going for energy-efficient equipment, LED lighting, certified equipments from international bodies, solar power-driven accessories etc.,” Garg disclosed.
Mahendra Kumar’s experiences with Delhi metro led him to create a successful Lucknow metro project. “We have given due importance to sustainability at Lucknow metro. All stations are certified with an IGBC Platinum-rating,” he proudly shared.
Jadeja was asked to share his experiences at Rapid Metro Gurgaon. “For a private metro like us, all systems should be sustainable, should generate money and reduce cost. We combined the procurement, installation and commissioning of the complete system. Our efficiency is the highest, and we have zero failure rate. Maintenance costs, too, are the lowest,” he elaborated.
While discussing the new metro rail policy, Rakheja was eager to know if it is making the process easier in terms of going forward. To this, Singh stated, “We are procuring and running the rolling stock. We may go for leasing in the next phase.”
Satish Kumar said, “Delhi Metro was a greenfield project, where we selected the latest technology in each of the fields that matched each other. This was the latest technology at that point of time.”
When posed with a question about the current ‘smart’ metro trend, Rajesh Kumar shared, “I think our metros are smart and fully updated with technology. But, we need to work more towards a seamless management and operation of all the systems.”
Rakheja asked Vantu to voice his thoughts on Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Maintenance. “China and Southeast Asia built a lot of systems but they now face obsolescence of technologies. The right idea is to quickly build systems and implement them,” offered Vantu.
When asked what the driver behind setting up a green metro rating system was, Choudhury informed, “With a focus on sustainability, during the first technical committee meeting in 2013, the very highest level members in DMRC decided to do so. Subsequently, we brought all our expertise in terms of airports, IT parks and other projects into the MRTS rating system, along with a lot of high technology relevant to transit stations and transit systems.”
In the next session, Shailesh Nigam, DGM – applied business, Daikin Air-conditioning India, gave a presentation on the ‘Overview of Daikin Applied Products’, wherein he explained that “applied products are the large commercial air-conditioning machinery or the chilling plants, which either go in the basement or on the rooftop.”
The second panel discussion was the CXO Power Panel, which revolved around ‘Overview on Planning, Infrastructure, Design, Technology and Trends in Metro Rail Projects in India’. Parashuram Singh, MD, Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation; Kumar Keshav, MD, Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation; Rajiv Banga, MD & CEO, IL&FS Rail (Rapid Metro Gurgaon); Shaibal Roy, VP & Head (Transportation & Hydro) – Urban Infrastructure, Tata Projects; and Pravin Darade, were a part of the discussion. Bharat Salhotra, VP, sales & business development, Asia Pacific Region, Alstom, moderated the session.
Salhotra asked about the things that make a project successful. Acknowledging the pillars that led to the successful implementation of Lucknow metro, Keshav replied, “It is Lucknow metro’s very small, determined team which delivered this project in time with the constant support and understanding between all the consultants, funding institutions, contractors, and vendors.”
Roy, being an expert on FDIC procurement documentation, was asked the best possible way forward in the procurement model. “We should develop one single contract document for all metro projects to make it easier for the metro authorities to monitor all the contracts. This way, the cost and litigation, too, will go down,” he supplied.
Banga said, “First and foremost, there are a few sectorial challenges for things like the metro. It is capital-intensive, but it is seen as social infrastructure, so fares are always regulated. Every metro has a challenge on viability. It has to be more than adequately supplemented with – whether it is non-fare or value capture.”
MMRCL and MMRDA are two different bodies with different rolling stocks running in Mumbai. Salhotra was not satisfied with the prevailing lack of standardisation that, in turn, shifts the focus away from bringing better outcomes. Darade cleared the misunderstanding by saying, “Both MMRCL and MMRDA are constructing facilities taking into account PHPDT, in each direction and for each metro line. The infrastructure and facilities are provided as per the requirement and traffic needs of each particular station. The number of coaches available now is able to cater to the current ridership. But, since the infrastructure cannot be expanded later, we have provided future expansion potential in the stations.”
On the human side of things, there is the case of the Kolkata metro. They are constructing an East-West corridor, which has two prominent locations where resettlement of families was involved. “Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation first shifted them into a temporary accommodation, which was constructed on land given by the state government and finally we have accommodated them in newly built, multi-storied apartments,” Singh claimed, adding that they had housed about 143 families. The second panel ended with high hopes for a better tomorrow.
Post lunch, Ashish Jain, partner, AEON Integrated Building Design Consultants, gave a case study presentation, wherein he shared the design philosophies and procedures while coming up with an interchange station. “We aimed at developing a climate responsive design. Micro climate for outdoor thermal comfort, façade design optimisation and enhanced daylight for the interiors were strategically integrated. Adequate solar shading, evaporative cooling and natural ventilation became other important features of the design,” he said.
Next, Dr Brijesh Dixit, MD, Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation, presented a special address on ‘Innovation in Metro Rail in India’. Dixit believes that the main concern lies in the management of the evolving challenges, minimising cost, enhancing the experience & reliability, enhancing accessibility & affordability, and achieving environmental friendliness. “Our 5D building information modelling, solar PV modules, 100% water recycling units and other cost-effective initiatives bring out the best design that is easy to operate and manage,” highlighted Dixit.
Bosch Limited’s Ajay Talwar, head, business verticals – building technology division, delivered his presentation on ‘Integrated One-stop Security Solutions in Metros’. In this regard, he said, “Most of the metros are supported by Bosch worldwide. Bosch’s CCTV, fire intrusion, access control, auditorium systems and other need-based solutions, by the next two years, will be on IoT, integrated on a single platform.”
The third and final panel discussion aimed at understanding ‘Latest technology and its applications in Metro Rail Systems’. The panel included Anil Kumar Saini, COO, L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad; Sanjay Kumar, chief engineer – signalling & telecommunication, Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation; Prashant Varma, GM – S&T, MEGA Co.; Dr Vimal Gahlot, senior engineer – urban transport, public works department, Government of Rajasthan; and Munish Peshin, director – business group – professional lighting, Philips Lighting India. Moderator Rajaji Meshram, director – infrastructure, government and healthcare services, KPMG Advisory Services, dug deeper into leveraging technology to achieve optimisation, efficiency and sustainability.
Meshram asked Gahlot to share his experience in the metros of Rajasthan. “Looking on to the broader spectrum, engaging the customers & commuters and encouraging them to use the metro are the most important facets in Rajasthan.”
Speaking about the linkage of lighting and metro design, Peshin highlighted, “While designing a metro or MRTS lighting, we look at two aspects – one is to provide optimal lighting for different activities and another is to create an ambience through digital lighting, so that the building becomes a landmark and increases ridership.”
Meshram asked Saini to explain how technology can be leveraged to manage and control operational costs. Saini pointed out that the fare box collection and the non-fare box collection has to meet the OpEx. “Technology can be implemented in optimising the OpEx. I think the immediate target for us is to bring about 25% reductions in OpEx by the use of asset management systems, IoT and analytics.”
Varma rightly elaborated on the ideas of standardisation across all metros in India saying, “In 2016, MOUD issued circulars asking metros to set up small teams to standardise the specifications for signalling & telecom, rolling stock, traction and track. Other than optimising the functions and stock, we leave the automation, like driverless train operation, to the metros themselves.”
Meshram understood that the communication-based train control system is a pre-requisite for a driverless metro, but he was eager to know the stages and needs of driverless metros. Sanjay Kumar explained that driverless metros fall under the Grade of Automation-IV (GOA-4) section. “Here, the unit needs to have a barrier detection system at the platform. If the train finds any object bigger than a particular size, it will stop automatically and inform the OCC. Another feature is the derailment detection system, where the train automatically stops, if anything untoward happens.”
With the end of the final panel discussion, Sanjay Gautam, sales director, Rehau Polymers, followed with an ‘Introduction of Rehau 3rd Rail System’ saying, “Rehau is the only company which produces all the three major components, the aluminum stainless steel, the GRP steel support that holds the third rail, and the cover which protects the rail from electric shocks.”
Cutting-edge discussions aside, networking opportunities were generated as part of the 7th Annual Metro Rail India Summit 2018. In addition, there was a special felicitation of leading metro rail operators for their outstanding contribution to the Indian Metro Rail and Rail Industry.