‘Financial viability will be a challenge for Nagpur Metro’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Jun 2018 09:29:50


By Manish Soni,

He is known for his dedication, devotion and planning. Dr. Brijesh Dixit, Managing Director of Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited is known as ‘Mr. Perfectionist’ among Metro officials and employees. He completes tasks at hand as a matter of habit. As a result, construction work of Metro Rails in Nagpur and Pune is running at the speed of “Bullet Train.” People of Maharashtra are now eagerly waiting for Metros which will change the lifestyle of Pune and Nagpur. Dr Dixit is PhD in Transport Economics and also a Civil Engineering graduate. He pursed further education at the Indian Railways Institute of Engineering, Pune.

Dr Dixit has extensive work experience and he is now an inspiration for the entire team. He works for more than 18 hours to complete projects on time. In last three years, Nagpur Metro Rail Project is touching the sky with its speed. The first phase of work is likely to finish by December 2018. Maharashtra Government has now appointed Dr Dixit chief of all metro rail projects in the State. Presently, he is working on Thane Metro Rail Project too. The ‘Metro Man’ spoke to the ‘The Hitavada’ on several issues related to the projects, its costs, viability and also hardships being faced by citizens of Nagpur.

Q: Are you satisfied with the present pace of development of Nagpur Metro?

A: Yes, I am satisfied with the pace of development. This is a mega project and we are working as per the plan while maintaining quality and speed of the project. Currently, around 65 percent work of Nagpur Metro and 20 percent work of Pune Metro has been completed. The first phase of Nagpur Metro -- from Khapri to Sitabuldi and Lokmanya Nagar, Hingna to Sitabuldi -- is likely to be completed by December 2018. We have started run of Nagpur Metro on a 5.5 kms stretch on At-Grade section. My directors, officers, employees and labourers are working hard to complete the project. We are getting valuable support from people of Nagpur, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.

Q: What was your approach while executing this mega project?
A: This is a vast work and we have challenges to finish it in time to maintain the estimated cost of the project. We are working simultaneously on all fronts like tendering, execution of work, planning and others. We have directed to finish work on daily basis as we can not allow pendency.
Another important aspect of working is team building. Multi-tasking approach along with motivation and dedication of the team has shown the path to expedite work.

Q: Are there plans for expansion of Nagpur Metro?

A: Presently, we are executing project to cover a distance of 40 kms in Nagpur. We are planning to expand the Metro Rail network upto 48 kms outside city limits to increase the ridership. A detailed project report of Nagpur Metro will be sent to Maharashtra Government for approval. We are also planning to expand Pune Metro upto 70 kms. The DPR is under process. Every metro rail starts with small beginning and later expands to certain areas. Delhi Metro started with 65 kms of stretch and now it covers distance of 280 kms. Maha Metro is also planning Thane Metro Rail network. Its DPR is also under preparation.

Q: Will the Metro Project be financially viable and attract commuters?

A: Public transport is not viable in any country. Viability is a challenge as we cannot increase fare of metro after a certain limit. Therefore, Maha Metro has decided to increase non-fare box revenue to subsidise the Metro Rail project. This will help in maintaining the fare. Other countries are already generating non-box revenue upto 40 percent while we are planning for 50 percent generation. We have studied the pattern of Singapore and Hong Kong in this regard. Presently, only 10 percent are using public transport in the country. We have to increase this figure by 60 percent. This will improve the quality of life and also reduce pollution. We have plans to increase ridership upto 3.5 lakh in first phase.

Q: How will you generate revenue when markets are presently facing economic slump?

A: We are receiving huge response from the property market. Even before first commercial run of the train, we have generated revenue worth Rs 80 crore from multiple sources. The government is charging additional stamp duty to provide revenue for Metro Rail. There is also Transit Oriented Development (TOD) policy to increase population density near metro stations and generate revenue. Metro will get 50 percent of its earning. We are also planning to generate revenue through advertisement rights. Multi-floor buildings are coming up at Munje Square, Zero Mile, Cotton Market and other places. We will give property development rights on Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis.

Q: Is Maha Metro planning to manufacture coaches in Nagpur?
A: Initially we had a talk with CRRC Corporation Limited of China to manufacture coaches in Nagpur. However, they have not shown any interest. Currently, we are in talks with Indian Railway Production Company, Raibareli. Their officers are coming on June 8. Other foreign companies are also taking interest to set up their unit in Nagpur. State Government has provided 100 acres of land for manufacturing of coaches under Make in Maharashtra flagship programme.

Q: How will Nagpur Metro connect suburban cities?
A: Nagpur Metro has forwarded a proposal to Indian Railways to run Metro to connect suburbs like Katol, Saoner, Ramtek, Kalmeshwar and others. Railways will operate the train while coaches will be provided by Metro. This will integrate all public transport system and commuters can easily travel from one destination to other. This will also reduce road accidents as people will travel in Metro Rail.

Q: Citizens are complaining about hardships due to ongoing metro rail work...
A: We are aware that citizens are facing tremendous problems due to ongoing work. We are trying hard to reduce their difficulties by deploying additional manpower and barricading roads. Despite the problems we are getting wonderful public support for this work. Nagpur Metro is committed for completing the work on time to reduce their problems.