Delhi's metro success a lesson for Australia

Discussion in 'Economy & Infrastructure' started by WMD, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. WMD

    WMD Regular Member

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    Delhi's metro success a lesson for Australia​

    Delivered on time, within budget, the project is one of the wonders of the world.

    In Delhi, a city of chaos, the metro service is a moving oasis of punctuality and order.


    [​IMG]

    Let's talk about something inspiring. So many good ideas in infrastructure never get built. This is about one that did: one of the great infrastructure achievements of our time, almost a miracle.

    Delhi is the world's second-biggest city, behind Tokyo. The United Nations estimates that in mid-2010 it had 22 million people - the population of Australia - spread across four neighbouring states. Traffic congestion is immense. Its buses are slow, hot and crowded. Until recently, its only railways were the long-distance lines to the rest of India.

    And then Delhi built a metro: a metro that, in the context of India, has become one of the wonders of the modern world.

    Planning began in 1995. Construction started in 1998. The first trains ran in 2002. It now has six lines, 143 stations, and carries 2 million passengers a day. By 2021, when stage four is complete, it will be bigger than the London Underground, and is forecast to carry 6 million passengers a day.
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    As a rule, nothing in India's public sector works as intended. But the Delhi metro works: 99.97 per cent of trains arrive within one minute of schedule. They are clean, cool and safe. At peak hour, they come every 2½ minutes. It runs at a profit. Every stage has been completed on time, within budget. In India, in the modern world, that is a miracle.

    How did Delhi do it? And what can Australia learn from this model of world's best practice?

    I dislike the ''great men'' approach to history, but in this case, it's indisputable. Infrastructure projects in India are usually characterised by political interference, corruption, delays, cost overruns and inefficiency. The Delhi metro broke the mould because they appointed a quietly brilliant, incorruptible, inspiring team leader as director, and gave him freedom to run it as he chose.

    Elattuvalapil Sreedharan was already 63 and a folk hero to the urban middle class when he was asked to build the Delhi metro. He had just built the Konkan railway connecting Mumbai to Goa with similar efficiency, a formidable assignment with 150 bridges and 93 tunnels through landslide-prone hills. Originally from Kerala, India's best-educated and least corrupt state, he had spent decades in the Indian railways, winning fame by restoring a cyclone-damaged bridge to Rameswaram, between India and Sri Lanka, in just 46 days when six months was allowed for the job.

    Sreedharan agreed to take on the Delhi metro on one condition: no political interference. He hired a small, motivated staff, solely on merit, paid them well, and sent them overseas to study how the world's best metros worked. He insisted on developing expertise within the organisation, rather than relying on consultants.

    Deadlines and budgets had to be realistic and achievable; but once set, they were not to be altered, save in compelling circumstances. Once a decision was made, it was final. If anything went wrong, there was no hunt for scapegoats, only for solutions. A colleague told Forbes magazine that in 30 years of working together, he never heard Sreedharan shout at anyone.

    There was no mercy, however, if the issue was corruption, so rife in India. Anyone caught was out immediately. Sreedharan ignored the rule book on competitive tenders to award tenders to firms he trusted - but if they failed to deliver on time, quality and budget, they, too, were out. Politicians used to pulling strings to get jobs or contracts for their allies found their strings were cut.

    His emphasis was on speed and efficiency: on getting it right first time, then delivering on time, on budget, and with the required quality. Tenders were broken into smaller contracts rather than big ones, so the organisation never lost control. Contractors were paid most of their claim within 24 hours, and the rest a week later, the cash flow giving them an incentive to deliver. As Forbes noted: ''It is based on trust, and the penalty for breaching it is high.''

    So far the metro has cost just $2.5 billion; Indian construction workers are cheap. Most of the finance came as low-interest loans from Japan's aid agency. The national government and Delhi's state government each paid 15 per cent of the bill, and 10 per cent came from redeveloping areas around the new stations.

    One might note that the one failure was the privately run line: the Airport Rail Link, run by billionaire Anil Ambani's Reliance Infrastructure. Last year, it had to shut for six months after safety concerns. Reliance also proved unreliable in Mumbai, where it is three years behind schedule building the first line of the Mumbai metro. Private ownership is no guarantee of competence.

    Sreedharan retired at 79, and is back in Kerala where he effectively directs the construction of a smaller metro in Kochi, with Japanese and French aid money. Every Indian city now wants a metro. But Delhi's achievement is unique.

    On current plans, in one generation, it will have built a metro system comparable to those of Paris, London and New York. We, who need yet cannot build, should learn from Asia's success stories.
    Delhi's metro success a lesson for Australia
     
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  3. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Good article but this statement below is factually wrong:
     
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  4. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    @Bangalorean Ji,

    I am much pleased to invite your attention to one line in the article that will be of great benefit to me in our future debates.
    :troll:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  5. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    ^^ Oh, it's all about statistics, percentage and, thereby, probability of success :D
     
  6. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    Sreedharan was very strict, if you are 10 minutes late for work, half days salary was taken out. So that kept people on their toes. This is how they achieved everything on time.
     
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  7. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Sadly the Airport line has shown the fault lines for DMRC. The string of shortcomings specially in the civil work which was under DMRC has been really very shoddy and not up to the mark. Also we have seen the road leading to the T3 Terminal od IGI Airport has been caving in regularly. The same is not the case with the other underground stretch which is being operated by DMRC.
     
  8. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Ring Rail in Delhi is a joke and hardly used. So factually the reporter is correct in his statement.
     
  9. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    It is used but compared to the Bombay one, and Metro its a joke.

    Airport Line the Railway Station to Airport one is Reliance's responsibility.
    The road that goes from the T2 via Airport City ?
     
  10. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    This is Relience, from same Relience which want to make MRCA in India.
     
  11. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    @sayareakd and @Singh most of the faults on the Airport line were attributed to the civil work and also to the laying of the tracks. This was under the scope of DMRC.
    The scope of Reliance was the signalling system, the Rolling Stock and the Stations( they got empty shell from DMRC). So let us not blame Reliance fully on this issue.

    Plus in Delhi the rolling Stock is from Spain and not from China as is the case with Mumbai metro.
    @Singh the road leading upto T3 from the Mahipalpur crossing upto T3, is the road under which the Metro Line runs. Once you enter the road you will immediately get the Metro station. Last year this road leading to the T3 Terminal had caved in and presently the road on the other side before the CISF security point has caved in and is under repairs. Yes I also think it comes almost parallel to the Hotels being constructed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
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  12. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    I will present two statements, and you decide which one is fact and which one is fiction.

    • Until recently, its only railways were the long-distance lines to the rest of India. (as per the author)
    • Until recently, its only railways were the long-distance lines to the rest of India, and the EMUs.
    Now, after you have determined which one is fact, try to figure out which one is factually correct and which one is factually wrong.

    [​IMG]
    Delhi EMU
     
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  13. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    You are correct PM, I had forgotten about the EMUs. Having lived so many years in Calcutta for me the other alternative to the Metro has been the local trains only. EMU never crossed my mind.

    By the way the photo looks like the Calcutta metro Delhi EMUs are slightly different in design.
     
  14. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    This picture is from Shakurbasti, Delhi. :)

    You can check plenty of pictures in IRFCA if you so wish.
     
  15. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Generally the EMUs in Delhi are

    [​IMG]

    But then I could be mistaken also, because I have never seen these ones in Delhi and that also so crowded.
     
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  16. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    @sob,

    I have never travelled in a Delhi EMU, but I have visited Delhi countless times, from childhood to adulthood. Most of my visits were prior to Delhi Metro opening, and I have seen a lot of crowded EMUs in Delhi. It is quite possible that now that the Delhi Metro is there, most of the passengers have switched and the EMUs run under capacity.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  17. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Delhi Metro is really worth the attention it is getting. Let us also not forget that one of the reasons that they are in profit ( small one maybe as the figures are not in the open) is that they do not have to pay taxes on the property that they have developed along the metro stations. This definitely helps them financially.

    Once the Ring road line opens up the passenger traffic will really go up and it will help ease some congestion on the Ring Road.
     
  18. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    I agree.

    Delhi Metro deserves a lot of accolades.

    Now, there is an urgent need for a similar project in Mumbai, and what is really important is connecting Borivali with Thane; the only problem is that it might have to be elevated tracks through the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
     
  19. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    ^^ For Mumbai, another awesome idea would be to connect Fort area with Navi Mumbai via a bridge which touches Elephenta island also. That bridge can be for both rails and road traffic. There is already a plan being discussed, I think it is called the "proposed Sewri sea link" or something. It will be the greatest gift to Mumbai, and will completely transform Navi Mumbai, if executed.
     
  20. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Right now they have one from Chembur area, but you are right, a road-cum-metro link from Kala Ghoda, or from Churchgate, via VT, to Navi Mumbai would be an excellent link.
     
  21. Payeng

    Payeng Daku Mongol Singh

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    Isn't it the same Metro, Congress is campaigning in its Bharat Nirman election advertisement.
     

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