India's first Rapid Rail will be launched for public by March 2023: Vinay Kumar Singh

By 2025, passengers of Delhi will be able to reach Meerut in an hour by Rapid Rail.
Anushka Khare Posted on: 2021-07-22 08:33:00 Viewer: 12,221 Comments: 0 Country: India City: New Delhi

India's first Rapid Rail will be launched for public by March 2023: Vinay Kumar Singh

The proposal to build semi high-speed rapid rail (Regional Rail Transit System) between Delhi and Meerut was in the files for a long time. Its construction started two years ago, but only a year later, Covid-9 put brakes on all activities. Due to this the work of Rapid Rail was also affected. Will this project be completed on time? Who will run the Rapid Rail? How much will be the fare between Delhi-Meerut and when will work on the rest of the corridors? In a recent media interaction, NCRTC MD Vinay Kumar Singh has replied to all these questions.

What is the status of construction of Rapid Rail between Delhi and Meerut?

The construction work is going on in full swing on this route. A large number of pillars have been prepared in the UP part. Tunnel construction work in Delhi's Anand Vihar will start soon. Our target is that in March 2023, rapid rail will start running on 17 km of this corridor and gradually its sections will be opened. By 2025, passengers of Delhi will be able to reach Meerut in an hour by Rapid Rail. We estimate that in 2025, 8 lakh passengers will travel daily on Rapid Rail.

Work stopped due to Covid, has it affected the construction? Will the cost also increase?

The work was stopped during Covid. At that time oxygen was being supplied for covid patients, so oxygen supply was stopped for construction works. But now we have time to start this entire line, so it should be expected that if there is no major hurdle, then the rapid rail will run on time. As far as cost escalation is concerned, it will be finalized only when the project is completed.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all the metro companies of the country are stuck in financial crisis. The average cost of construction of Rapid Rail is also around Rs 370 crore km, so what is the preparation for Rapid Rail not to face any crisis?

We will focus on reducing the cost. Many metros are currently handing over some work to private companies, so that the cost can be reduced. To reduce the cost, we will also give the responsibility of running the rapid rail operations to a private company so that the expenses can be reduced. For this, we will find good companies and have a detailed agreement with them so that there is no inconvenience to the passengers. Apart from this, we will also keep a backup plan so that if the agency faces any problem, then the speed of Rapid Rail does not stop.

But there will also be safety concerns in this and the fare burden will not increase on the passengers? What is the estimate of how much the Rapid Rail will cost?

How will the new system develop if we don't do any experiments? Well, for safety, we are making a foolproof plan. Metro Act will be applicable on Rapid Rail also. Just as there are strict rules of safety and security in it, so will it be here too. As far as the fare is concerned, according to the DPR estimate, the fare will be around Rs 2 per km. The private agency will not have the right to increase the fare later. Like the Metro, the fare committee will decide, which is formed under the chairmanship of a judge.

Will there be any arrangement like feeder bus for Rapid Rail?

Talks are going on in UP for feeder buses. In Delhi, we are doing integrated planning. Our Meerut line in Delhi will connect with bus stands and metro stations at two places so that the passenger does not face any problem for onward journey by getting off the rapid rail. Similarly, we are making similar arrangements for Alwar line also. The Alwar line will also connect to INA, Munirka and Aerocity metro stations in Delhi. Similarly, the station of Panipat line will be connected to the Kashmere Gate metro station. In the coming time, altogether 7 out of 8 lines of Delhi Metro will have rapid rail connectivity. Apart from this, passengers will not have to take separate tickets for the fare. With the same card, you will be able to travel in Metro, Rapid Rail.

What is the status of Alwar and Panipat line of Rapid Rail?

We have got approval from Government of Haryana and Delhi for 106 km route from Sarai Kale Khan to SNB for Rapid Rail to be built from Sarai Kale Khan to Alwar. It is expected that soon the central government will also give its approval. At present, we are doing pre-construction work, so that after getting the approval, it does not take much time to start the construction work. The DPR of Panipat line has also been prepared.

(Based on the recent conversation with Gulshan Rai Khatri, NBT)

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