NCRTC has been able to commission RRTS projects on time: Vinay Kumar Singh, MD

Anushka Khare Posted on: 2020-09-13 00:06:00 Viewer: 7,588 Comments: 0 Country: India City: Delhi

NCRTC has been able to commission RRTS projects on time: Vinay Kumar Singh, MD

As lockdown restrictions ease, infrastructure projects that had hit a roadblock are picking up pace once again. Vinay Kumar Singh, managing director, National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), talks about its priority projects, their progress and how they will make travel smoother in the city. Here are excerpts:

The lockdown has impacted several infrastructural projects between March and June. How did it impact the NCRTC Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) projects?

The COVID-19 crisis is indeed an unprecedented situation for every sector. However, such situations also present an opportunity for each sector in a unique way. We saw this as an opportunity to upscale the deployment of technologies.

In 2016, I had conceived NCRTC is a technology-driven organization with extensive use of digital tools in project management and execution of RRTS projects. We have been using electronic platforms and IT tools in our day-to-day functioning such as internal approvals, procurement, designing etc. Thus, during the lockdown, we were able to sustain the momentum fairly well.

While the construction activities came to a halt during lockdown 1.0, we diverted our efforts and focused on other activities. Tender processes were expedited; for the first time, pre-bid meetings were held through videoconferencing. Further, activities related to the finalisation of detailed design and drawings of civil structures, stations etc. were accelerated. Once the relaxations were announced, we resumed the civil construction with strict adherence to standard operating procedures and guidelines issued by the governments.

In about sixteen months from the sanction of the project, we recently launched the first segmental span on the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor between Guldhar and Duhai, which demonstrates NCRTC’s meticulous planning and collaborative approach with stakeholders to deliver the project on time.

The Delhi-Meerut RRTS project must have been impacted by labour issues. Is it expected to begin operations by 2023?

The return of labourers to their hometowns has been an issue across sectors. However, it is equally true that proactive pro-labour initiatives by us and some other employers during the lockdown have helped many projects to retain labourers.

The RRTS is the first of its kind project in the country. With no local benchmarks, it is certainly a challenging task to complete the 17-km priority section between Sahibabad to Duhai within a target time of four years from the sanction of the project. We have resumed and expedited all construction activities after the relaxations were announced. After completion of foundations and substructures, we have started launching superstructures in various stretches of the priority section. The lockdown did pause the construction activities for a while but NCRTC is making all-out efforts to commission the project on time.

What is the level of progress of the RRTS station at Sarai Kale Khan, where it is supposed to serve as the backbone for multimodal connectivity with existing modes of public transportation?

Sarai Kale Khan will be seamlessly integrated with the Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station, Delhi Metro Pink Line’s Hazrat Nizamuddin station and the Sarai Kale Khan ISBT.

As far as progress is concerned, detailed designing of the station has been completed. The multimodal integration scheme of the station has been finalized after deliberations and discussions with the stakeholders and approvals have been obtained. The station architecture has been designed with an aim to transform the entire area in a way that will facilitate ease of pedestrian movement from one mode to another. The same has been verified by doing a simulation of commuter movement in the station and surrounding areas. Subsequent to GNCTD’s (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi) approval, pre-construction works have been initiated. Soil investigation is complete and pile load test and diversion of utilities such as 11 KV, 33 KV (BSES & DTL) lines are in progress. The construction of the station is expected to start after the monsoon.

How will the NCRTC manage crowds? Will the station be overground or underground? Have these questions been discussed with the Delhi government?

The RRTS is going to be the backbone of passenger transport in NCR. It will be an elevated station, which is the most efficient and economical option, and will facilitate the simultaneous development of ISBT. The decision to make this station overground was taken after convincing all the stakeholders, including the Delhi government.

To efficiently plan the design of the Sarai Kale Khan station, we have done the simulation of passenger movement in and around the station by a design team consisting of national and international experts as well as experts from DIMTS (Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System), DTIDC (Delhi Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation) and Transport Department, GNCTD.

What’s the progress on the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor?

The sanction of the project by the government of India was communicated on March 7, 2019. On March 8, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of India’s first regional rail between Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut. Within three months of sanction, NCRTC started civil construction on the priority section of this 82 km-long corridor. This is a rare feat.

Currently, the civil construction work is in progress on a stretch of 50 km length i.e. from Sahibabad to Shatabdi Nagar in Meerut. Construction of all four stations of the priority section – Sahibabad, Ghaziabad, Guldhar and Duhai – is in progress. The launching of precast segments is underway in the priority section. State-of-the-art casting yards at Vasundhara and Shatabdi Nagar are functional. Tenders for civil construction in Delhi and Meerut have already been invited and are under evaluation. The corridor construction is expected to start in the next few months.

What’s the status of the second priority corridor, Delhi-Gurugram-SNB (Shahjahanpur-Neemrana-Behror Urban Complex)?

The 107 km-long rail corridor will immensely benefit industrial towns beyond Gurugram, including Manesar, Panchgaon, Dharuhera and Bawal. It will connect the industrial and corporate hub of Haryana to the rest of the NCR. This corridor has almost 35 km of alignment underground, which makes the project complex and challenging.

Soil testing, topographical survey, utility diversion and road widening are now being carried out. Detailed Design Consultant (DDC) for the design of the elevated viaduct and elevated stations between IDPL complex, Gurugram and Rajiv Chowk has been appointed and the work is in full swing.

The detailed project report has been approved by the State governments and is in consideration of the Government of India for sanction. Funding is in the advanced stages of being tied up with the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the World Bank. A team of officers is posted and a project site office has been commissioned at Gurugram for efficient execution of the project.

(Based on the recent conversation held between Mr. Vinay Kumar Singh, MD, NCRTC and Mr. Jatin Anand, The Hindu)

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