Interview with Shri Vinay Kumar Singh, MD, National Capital Region Transport Corporation
Q1. What is NCRTC’s outlook and plan for the development of the Regional Rapid Transit System across the National Capital Region?
At NCRTC, we have a vision of improving the quality of life for millions of people residing in the National Capital Region by providing a fast, equitable, comfortable, safe, and sustainable mobility solution.
RRTS is a rail-based, high-speed, high-capacity transit system with a design speed of 180 km/h. Such seamless connectivity will drive balanced and sustainable urban development in the region. RRTS is different from conventional Railway and Metro services as it will provide reliable, high-frequency, comfortable regional travel to passengers looking to travel relatively longer distance with fewer stops at high speed.
A total of 8 corridors have been identified for creating high-speed RRTS links in NCR, of which 3 corridors; Delhi – Ghaziabad - Meerut, Delhi – Gurgaon – SNB - Alwar, and Delhi - Panipat are being prioritized for implementation in the first Phase. The civil construction of the 82km long India’s first Delhi-Ghaziabad–Meerut RRTS corridor is in full-swing and our team is confident of completing the project as per scheduled timelines.
Q2. What were the efforts and initiatives undertaken by NCRTC, to make the project successful?
We have strategically planned every phase of the project from planning to operations. To ensure the successful implementation and operation of the project, we have adopted and developed state-of-the-art technological solutions some of which are being used for the first time in the country and will prove transformational for transport infrastructure projects.
RRTS will be the first rail-based transit system which will be using ETCS-II, the most-advanced signalling and train control system equipped with the Automatic Train Operations (ATO) functionality for high-frequency and efficient operations. Furthermore, persistent efforts are being taken to ensure large-scale adoption of public transportation solutions by the commuters in NCR and a sustained ridership for RRTS. In this direction, DPR of the corridors modified for converging the three priority corridors at Sarai Kale Khan in Delhi & making them interoperable. In addition, Multi-Modal-Integration has been kept at center of our project planning. Thus, RRTS stations will have seamless integration with other modes of transportation, such as Delhi Metro Stations, ISBTs (Inter-state Bus Terminals), Airport, and Railway Stations.
Talking of technology, we have adopted BIM- Building Information Modeling along with CDE (Common Data Environment), which is a high-advanced 3D designing technology that helps in facilitating optimum economical design and seamless collaboration. We are also in process of implementing iDREAMS, Asset Management System (AMS), for the efficient operation and maintenance of various assets being used in the RRTS project.
Q3. What is the expected impact of the RRTS projects that are under various stages of implementation?
RRTS will not only offer mass transit benefits but also bring in wide range of economic benefits to the region. The corridor will unlock economic potential of various tier II and tier III towns around National Capital leading to polycentric development. RRTS will provide fast and convenient mode of travel to thousands of students and working population across Delhi-NCR. This will also lead to increased industrial investment in these zones, creation of new economic clusters, and enhanced jobs generation.
RRTS is an equitable mode of public transport ensuring ease of access and commute for every section of the society. We will have provisions like exclusive women coach, availability of wheelchairs, large sized lifts which can help carry patients & stretchers, separate seating priority for women, specially abled, elderly and children.
The system will lead to significant reduction in congestion and pollution. Once operational, the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS will ensure a modal shift in favour of public transport taking more than 1,00,000 vehicles off the roads and reduce ~2,50,000 Tonne CO2/year. RRTS will prove to be one of the most environment-friendly mass rapid transport system for NCR, having long-term impact.
We are also focused on making use of renewable sources of energy in a strategic manner. This includes installation of solar panels on stations, depots and other auxiliary buildings. In fact, 40% of the total energy requirement of the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut-RRTS corridor is targeted to be procured/generated from renewable sources of energy.
Q4. What is the expected role of private sector in the future growth/development of the RRTS systems across the National Capital Region?
Such a huge infrastructure project is being implemented for the first time in India requires private participation. We are tapping the domain expertise and efficiency of the private sector in a range of project works whether it is detailed designing, civil construction or other areas of project implementation. NCRTC is also coming up with innovative ways to bring in private expertise for the project. To share with you, implementation of an Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS) is being procured through a hybrid annuity model system.
We are also in the process of engaging a private O&M operator who will not only operate the Trainset but will also maintain the sub-systems, whether it is track, signaling, electrical or mechanical systems. Other than this, on non-fare box revenue side, we are involving private parties for developing and exploring commercial potential of our stations.
Project Specific Questions:
Q1) What is the expected timeline and impact of the upcoming Delhi – Gurugram – SNB RRTS Corridor (Please feel free to mention unique features of the project which you would like to highlight)?
The Detailed Project Report of the Delhi-Gurugram-SNB RRTS corridor has already been approved by the respective state governments. At present, it is under active consideration of the Govt. of India for approval. We are proactively carrying out the pre-construction works on this corridor such as utility shifting infringing the alignment, obtaining numerous approvals etc. so that construction work can start as soon as approval is obtained.
This corridor passes through the industrialized areas of Haryana and Rajasthan. It will increase the productivity of large number of commuters travelling to and from Delhi and Gurugram to regions in Manesar, Bawal, and Neemrana, and facilitate availability of skilled manpower to industries.
Q2) What is the thought behind the recent RFP issued for the Operations & Maintenance contract of the Delhi – Ghaziabad – Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS)?
The Metro Rail Policy 2017 issued by Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has emphasized the need for private sector participation for regional rail and metro rail projects. In line with this policy, NCRTC intends to engage a partner for undertaking operation & maintenance of RRTS and ensure long term sustainability of the project.
Through this initiative, we intend to achieve, Operational efficiency – reliability, availability, maintenance & safety; Cost optimization & Revenue Enhancement; Optimal Asset utilization and management; and Improved Commuter Experience. O&M works will include station management, train operations, general maintenance etc. We shall retain the right to collect fare box revenue. However, O&M Operator will facilitate NCRTC in revenue collection and its maximisation.