New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): In the 75th year of Indian independence, while we celebrate Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, NCRTC has taken a pathbreaking step by entering into a first-of-its-kind agreement on July 1, 2022, with DB India for the comprehensive operation and maintenance of the 82 km long Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor for a period of 12 years.
The rail-based transit systems in India are run by public entities, at times by outsourcing certain activities to private contractors. There has been limited participation by the private sector in this sector and till now the scope has generally been limited to the provision of facility management and ancillary services.
Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs issued the Metro Rail Policy in 2017 which, inter alia, advocates the need for private sector participation in regional rail and metro rail projects. By adopting the long-term private participation model entailing comprehensive outsourcing of O&M activities, NCRTC has initiated steps to fulfil this objective of the Metro Rail Policy-2017 and the key initiatives being pursued by MoHUA under the leadership of Hon’ble Minister, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri.
Deutsche Bahn Engineering and Consultancy India Pvt Ltd (DB India) is a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn AG, National Railway Company of Germany.
Speaking on the occasion, Vinay Kumar Singh, MD, NCRTC said, “RRTS is a capital-intensive project, where long-term sustainability is paramount without compromising the safety and comfort of commuters. I am certain that, using the expertise and experience of our O&M partner combined with advanced technology adopted by NCRTC will bring in the predictability of long-term costs, managerial efficiencies and entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector in providing quality services to the commuters. I truly believe that this pioneering initiative by NCRTC will lead to a paradigm shift in the entire sector and will make the sector cost-effective and competitive, thereby realizing the dream of a New India of our Hon’ble Prime Minister.”
This leapfrog initiative will undoubtedly pave the path for the transfer of knowledge, best international practices and managerial services that are available around the globe to the Indian metro and rail O&M industry. The employment of local engineers will enable the enhancement of existing skill sets by adopting international expertise and best practices. Through this model, it is expected that apart from efficient delivery of services, the private sector involvement will lead to operational efficiencies and optimum utilisation of assets/ resources. This model incentivises optimised performance through a system of incentives and penalties. The O&M model developed by NCRTC will be able to provide commuters world class customer experience through private O&M operators as well as help boost domestic capacities in the sector, having a multiplier effect. It will also assist in realizing GOI’s goal of brownfield monetization of infrastructure assets due to predictability and transparency of O&M costs.
To arrive at the most optimum contracting model, NCRTC undertook extensive discussions with stakeholders to identify the most efficient and effective mechanism for handling O&M of RRTS such that there is optimum utilisation of assets, reduced interfacing risks and taking a comprehensive long-term view of the entire spectrum of O&M aspects. The ultimate objective is to create a superior passenger experience with seamless integration with the passenger area. An optimum risk matrix approach has been adopted, and risks allocated to the party best suited to handle.
NCRTC has also adopted the first-of-its-kind model for integrated procurement cum long-term (15 years) comprehensive maintenance of rolling stock through private participation to capture lifecycle costing. This procurement model was adopted to tap the use of the most suitable technologies and durable components on the one hand and latest state of the art technologies and practices on the other at optimum costs. The comprehensive O&M contract and the aforesaid procurement cum long-term maintenance contract are now being proposed to be adopted by Indian Railways and other metro companies.
The implementation of RRTS is part of the ‘Comprehensive Action Plan’ (CAP) for Air Pollution Control in Delhi & NCR’ and the recommendation of the ‘High Powered Committee on Decongesting Traffic in Delhi’. Once operational, a shift of traffic from private modes to a rapid rail system and multimodal integration and seamless connectivity will reduce the energy use by the transport sector in the National Capital Region and will promote ease of living as well as ease of doing business within the NCR. It will also lead to a significant reduction in pollution in the region. It is envisaged that the savings achieved with efficient operations would be recurring in nature and would have a direct impact on the long-term sustainability of RRTS.