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Tracking metro rail trends

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 As India’s urban population is expected to reach 59 crore by 2030, the demand for more efficient and future-proof mass public transport is slated to grow rapidly. Metro rail has become one of the most sought after urban modes of transport for almost all the major cities. But to set up a metro rail network is not an easy task.
Right from planning, financing, project management to generating revenue once the project is commissioned — the challenges are many. Although India has a few operational metro projects currently, there is still a lot of scope for improvements in almost all the areas.
With a number of projects currently being planned or in execution, there is an urgent need to bring together all the key stakeholders, exchange the learnings from previous projects, and create a platform for knowledge sharing to ensure that all future metro rail projects are efficient, sustainable and commercially viable mass transportation solutions. That’s why the initiation of Metro Rail India Summit happened two years back. The third annual Metro Rail India Summit 2014 that will take place on February 18-19, 2014, at The Westin Sohna Resort and Spa, Gurgaon, aims to bring together key government and regulatory bodies, leading metro rail infrastructure developers, toplevel financial experts, innovators in metro rail technologies to meet, discuss and seek solutions for upcoming and under-construction metro projects in the country. Banking on the success on its last two editions, this year the annual event promises to be bigger and better.
The two-day exclusive residential event will be complimented with a glittering Metro awards ceremony that will honour the best talent and achievers in the Metro industry in India.
The event will also have a high-level power round table session with top upcoming Metro operators like Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Bhopal and Ahmedabad amongst others. This is going to be an excellent opportunity to meet and network with these metro operators to enhance business potential. There will also be an exclusive CEO round table session where one can hear and network for business with the top 10 Metro operators in India.

Today, metro rail holds a very significant position in the government’s overall urban plan and strategy. The country is expected to spend over Rs2 lakh crore (~$40 billion) on metro rail projects over the next 10 years. “The Ministry of urban development has decided that cities with a population of more than 20 lakhs will have Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS). So far the metro train system is functional in Kolkata, New Delhi, Bangalore and Gurgaon. Metro train system is under construction in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, and Kochi,” says Jagmohan Lal Arora, general manager (Rolling Stock and Depots) of L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited, who is one of the key speakers at the event.
Arora will make presentations on very critical topics —Efficient rolling stock design to optimise the project cost, operations and maintenance costs. He will focus on the need to standardise the rolling stock designs for various upcoming metros besides talking about simplification of certification process. He will also give another presentation on “Project Safety Plan”, which will cover on system description, safety policy, safety targets and requirements, safety deliverables, safety case and certification. “Needless to emphasise that the metro system is very complex, hence, we need to ensure safety in all walks of its design, construction and O&M,” Arora says.
The third annual Metro Rail India Summit is supported by Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) which is continuously striving towards wider adoption of green building concepts in the Indian Industry. “IGBC in its endeavour to enable sustainable built environment for all by 2015, strongly believes that Green Metro stations will set new benchmarks, and develop a roadmap towards sustainable infrastructure in the country,” says M Anand, principal counsellor, IGBC.
IGBC’s green building guidelines have also been extended to many of the infrastructure projects like airports, bus terminals, convention centres, metro stations and transit facilities. There has been growing awareness among people about the sustainability in India. Currently, there are many Metro rail projects in India that are going green with IGBC.
These include Chennai Metro and Delhi Metro. IGBC is also closely working with project teams of L&T Hyderabad Metro Rail and Kochi Metro Rail in greening the upcoming metro stations. Sharing his last year’s experience, Anand says, “ITP’s Annual Metro Rail India Summit 2013 at Chennai provided a great opportunity to showcase IGBC’s green initiatives in infrastructure projects and offered good networking opportunities amongst various stakeholders of Metro rail in India.”
Vijayananda Chunduru, Joint General Manager, Finance, L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) will make a presentation on ‘Infrastructure Project Financing – Need for a change in climate".
The 12th Five Year Plan estimates flow of investments into infrastructure at a whopping Rs100,000 and almost half of this is expected to come from private sector through public private partnership (PPP) model. To ensure materialisation of this objective, we have to go a long way in terms of rationalising the policy framework. While delays in approvals, clearances, land acquisitions, etc. are blocking the pace of infrastructure development especially in PPP projects, absence of developed financial system that facilitates funding long term infrastructure projects is a major constraint in achieving growth in this segment. Stricter prudential norms on bank lending to NBFCs, tighter rating requirements of the bonds to qualify for investment by insurance firms, tighter regulatory norms for private infrastructure firms to issue long-term bonds, all in cost ceiling for ECBs that allows access only to highly rated companies, lack of developed derivative market and interest rate derivative market. etc. are some of the main constraints in channelising the flow of funds to infrastructure projects.

Some of the major remedies visible to address the above challenges include introduction of a credit enhancement scheme as prevalent in developed countries which would provide partial credit guarantee to enhance the rating of infrastructure projects, creation of an effective policy framework for a robust debt capital market facilitating channelization of domestic and international pension funds, municipal funds, etc. through issue of long-term bonds, securitisation and take-out finance options, etc.
The panel would discuss on the above challenges and find out possible ways to remedy the situation through an interactive session with the participants.
This is a must-attend event where you will get an exciting opportunity to question policy-makers and regulators, learn from industry experts and update on technological and operational advancements, and the latest financing models.

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