Managing Director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Mangu Singh, says Phase-III will help reduce overcrowding on trains. Excerpts from a conversation.
What are the challenges faced during the ongoing construction of Phase-III?
Infrastructure projects of the size and magnitude of Delhi Metro Phase-III are bound to have hurdles and challenges. We always plan our construction work keeping in mind these issues. In the present phase of construction, we are facing minor hurdles related to land acquisition, tree cutting permissions, etc. But we are getting the required cooperation from all agencies concerned, and these issues will not have any bearing on the completion of the work. The progress made by us is satisfactory so far.
Are you planning to increase the number of trains in Phase-III?
Yes, the number of trains will be increased for the entire corridor. In 2016, the Mukundpur–Shiv Vihar corridor will have 52 six-coach trains, while the Janakpuri West–Botanical Garden corridor will have 29 six-coach trains. The existing lines and their expansions will also get additional trains.
Do you intend to increase the fare after completion of Phase-III?
Delhi Metro’s fares were revised last time in 2009. Since then, our operational expenditure has increased due to rise in power costs. In order to maintain quality of services of Delhi Metro and also keep the organisation in good financial health, periodic revision of fares is a must. In any case, Delhi Metro’s fares are among the lowest in the world.
Do you think Phase-II has reached its saturation point as one hardly gets a seat on Metro any time?
We are working continuously towards tackling the issue of overcrowding in trains. With the objective of increasing the carrying capacity of the trains, we are now converting 68 of our trains into the eight-coach configuration. Line 2 (Jahangirpuri–HUDA City Centre), Line 3 (Dwarka Sector 21-Noida City Centre) will have eight-coach trains soon. After the completion of Phase-III, the problem will get reduced further as there will be many more Metro corridors and interchange hubs.
Stations are getting overcrowded. Are you doing something for crowd management under Phase-III?
The new lines to be constructed in Phase-III, that is the Mukundpur–Shiv Vihar and Janakpuri West–Botanical Garden corridors, will have platform screen doors at all stations. Besides these, some underground stations of Jahangirpuri–HUDA City Centre corridor will also have these gates. After the completion of Phase-III, the busy interchange stations of the network such as Rajiv Chowk and Kashmere Gate will get decongested as more interchange stations are being constructed.