By G Seetharaman

It could be naive to count on an infrastructure undertaking to be accomplished on time in India, go away alone forward of schedule. Many tasks take years longer than they’re meant to, slowed down by litigation over land acquisition, monetary woes and political mudslinging. That’s the reason E Sreedharan’s feat was exceptional. As head of the Delhi Metro Rail Company, he had 10 years to fee the primary 65 km, however he accomplished it in seven years and three months.

How did he pull it off?

“I requested the federal government for 2 issues — the independence to function with no interference from politicians and bureaucrats, and the liberty to select my very own crew,” he advised ET Journal in 2011.

Ashwini Bhide, who was not too long ago changed as managing director of the Mumbai Metro Rail Company (MMRCL), may have additionally achieved with lots much less political meddling. She took on those that opposed the undertaking over the felling of bushes for a metro automotive shed. Amongst her strongest critics was Shiv Sena’s Aaditya Thackeray, who demanded that she be moved out of MMRCL. Although the Shiv Sena was a part of the Devendra Fadnavis authorities, its bigger ally, the Bharatiya Janata Celebration, backed Bhide. However inside two months of the Shiv Sena forming the federal government with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Celebration after the meeting polls, Bhide was shunted out. This incident highlighted the perils of helming a big infrastructure undertaking for a civil servant.

Vinayak Chatterjee, chairman and MD of Suggestions Infra, a consultancy, says these bureaucrats must be given tenure in order that they do an efficient job of executing tasks with out worry of being transferred. However on condition that some infrastructure tasks take years, and even many years, from conception to commissioning, it will be unreasonable to count on the identical individual to move it for the whole size of a undertaking, says Vijay Singhal, extra municipal commissioner of Mumbai, who’s liable for constructing the southern stretch of town’s coastal highway undertaking. Moreover, do retired civil servants have a bonus in overseeing an infrastructure undertaking?

“They’ll run it way more professionally than once they had been in service. They aren’t afraid of being posted elsewhere,” says Chatterjee. Sreedharan, for instance, had retired from the Indian Railways Engineering Service when he took cost as the primary MD of DMRC in 1997.

The opposite problem civil servants face in these tasks is that they need to cope with new and evolving points equivalent to large-scale land acquisition, complicated engineering issues, litigation and ecological threats. Nonetheless, such bureaucrats and officers play a significant function in successfully executing infrastructure tasks. Their roles deserve particular focus particularly with the Centre not too long ago saying an funding of Rs 102 trillion in infrastructure over the following 5 years, with simply over a fifth of that coming from the non-public sector.

Engineer of Monetary Options

By Shantanu Nandan Sharma

Between 1987 and 1992, Anurag Sachan spent most of his time travelling about in a soft-topped jeep within the jungles of Odisha. Then a railway civil engineer mandated to oversee the development of the 165 km Koraput-Rayagada monitor passing by way of the forests of the Jap Ghats, Sachan needed to negotiate challenges that had been largely restricted to his area information: civil engineering. Right this moment, Sachan’s worries transcend earthwork and bridges.

As the pinnacle of the Rs 81,000 crore Devoted Freight Hall Company (DFCC), Sachan coordinates with district magistrates on points regarding last-mile land acquisition and likewise with superintendents of police on regulation and order points. He has taken it upon himself to make sure the well timed completion of the hall — a uncommon linear undertaking in unbiased India that passes by way of 9 states, 62 districts and 21,000 villages. It warrants the acquisition of over 11,000 hectares for railway tracks.

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Barring the final 1% of the land required — unfold throughout Mumbai metropolis and Uttar Pradesh’s Better Noida — the remaining has been acquired to this point, costing the railways Rs 20,000 crore. The DFC contains two sectors — the 1,504 route-km Dadri (UP)-Mumbai western hall and the 1,856 route-km Ludhiana-Kolkata japanese stretch. At current, trials are on for 500 km throughout each strains.

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Sachan is assured that by March, 990 km will probably be operational. The undertaking, which started in 2007, was purported to be accomplished final 12 months. However the deadline has been reset to December 2021. Sachan, an officer of the Indian Railway Service of Engineers, was introduced in to move the DFC in December 2018. After turning into the MD of the Devoted Freight Hall Company, he has been dealing with macroeconomic hurdles greater than engineering ones.

“The latest problem is a scarcity of working capital amongst our contractors primarily as a result of general financial slowdown. Banks are tightening their purse strings. We’re releasing all dues to take care of the money circulation of the contractors,” he says, including that he has at instances superior funds, exercising some not often used authorized provisions.

“I need the undertaking to be accomplished by December 2021, it doesn’t matter what.” Thus far, Rs 55,000 crore has been spent on the undertaking. The stress to finish the DFC as quickly as doable is comprehensible. It could eat 70% of freight site visitors within the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata routes, expedite freight motion and assist the railways implement its dream undertaking of introducing 150 non-public trains.

Observe Finder

By G Seetharaman

13 years underneath 4 chief ministers of two states. That’s how lengthy NVS Reddy has been heading Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd (HMRL). The 63-year-old is the exception to the norm bureaucrat not often will get to supervise a big infrastructure undertaking from the drafting board to completion, notably when the undertaking has to beat as many hurdles as this one.

Larsen & Toubro had taken over the development and operation of the metro strains in 2010 from Maytas Infra after the latter’s promoter Ramalinga Raju confessed to cooking the books of Satyam Pc Companies, additionally began by Raju, and attempting to get Satyam to purchase Maytas. The undertaking has since been the topic of 370 courtroom circumstances, primarily on account of land acquisition and proper of means. HMRL needed to purchase practically 270 acres, a Herculean job in an enormous metropolis like Hyderabad.

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“Stanford or MIT can’t educate you find out how to execute an infrastructure undertaking in India,” says Reddy, a 1982-batch officer of the Indian Railway Accounts Service who retired in mid-2016. Those that opposed the undertaking protested and burnt Reddy’s effigy. Because of this, he now has an armed guard accompanying him wherever he goes. One of many trickiest components of the job was to discover a means round 20 non secular constructions. If the construction in query was a temple, he would ship one among his workers members who was a religious Hindu to guide the negotiations with the temple authorities. If he needed to cope with a mosque, he would put his Muslim chief engineer on the job.

“Solely 35% of my challenges are to do with engineering. The remaining are socio-economic,” says Reddy, who holds an MA in political science from Jawaharlal Nehru College. Initially slated to be accomplished by 2017, the Rs 21,000 crore undertaking noticed the primary 30 km turning into operational in 2018 and 28 km the next 12 months. One other 11 km was commissioned not too long ago.

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HMRL is but take a name on the remaining three km. Apart from land acquisition, the carving out of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh in 2014 additionally slowed issues down. The obstacles Reddy faces are usually not simply on the bottom.

“There’s a notion that regardless of the non-public sector does is mistaken. I feel like a non-public sector man. Sadly, the most effective factor we all know in forms is to push a file up or down.”

He additionally claims to have confronted some preliminary resistance from state authorities officers as he didn’t belong to the Indian Administrative Service. With phase-I of the undertaking practically full, Reddy has a good larger problem because the non-public sector’s curiosity within the metro enlargement tasks has subdued. However his expertise in managing the primary leg of the undertaking actually stands him in good stead.

Of Birds & Bridges

By G Seetharaman

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Untitled-8Wanting on the towers of the cable-stayed Bandra-Worli Sea Hyperlink from his workplace at Bandra Kurla Advanced, RA Rajeev, metropolitan commissioner of the Mumbai Metropolitan Area Growth Authority, laments the missed alternative in including aesthetic components to the 22-km Mumbai Trans Harbour Hyperlink (MTHL), connecting Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. In response to issues from environmentalists over a doable obstruction within the flight path of flamingoes, the trans harbour bridge was designed with out towers or arches.

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“In India, sadly, there isn’t a magnificence in infrastructure. Whenever you create one thing for posterity, you need to usher in some aesthetics,” he says, including the flamingoes’ path was not disturbed by the development. MTHL was initially conceived within the 1960s and has been tried 3 times since 2006.

The Rs 17,840 crore bridge, developed by Mumbai Metropolitan Area Growth Authority (MMRDA), is being constructed by two joint ventures, one between Larsen & Toubro and Japan’s IHI Infrastructure Programs and the opposite between Tata Tasks and South Korea’s Daewoo Engineering and Development. Work on the bridge, 80% of which is funded by the Japan Worldwide Cooperation Company, started in March 2018 and is scheduled to be completed by September 2022. As soon as accomplished, MTHL is estimated to see day by day site visitors of 70,000 automobiles. The bridge entails 10,000 precast components or blocks.

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“No two components are the identical. That’s the type of precision required for the undertaking,” says Rajeev, who was beforehand principal secretary of expenditure within the division of finance in Maharashtra. Engineering challenges apart, MTHL has necessitated the removing of encroachers in Navi Mumbai and land acquisition from the Mumbai Port Belief.

Rajeev says his expertise in finance, city growth and atmosphere ministries is coming in helpful. “The engineering side is taken care of. What’s required is an outdoor view of the undertaking. You do administration by exception; you intervene solely when there’s a downside.”

MMRDA is executing tasks price Rs 1.5 trillion, together with over 300 km of metro strains. There have been sporadic makes an attempt to ease the commuting woes of Mumbaikars however the subsequent 5 years will probably be essential in making substantive modifications to town’s infrastructure. MTHL is likely one of the most carefully watched tasks.

Pivotal Learnings

By Shantanu Nandan Sharma

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Mangu Singh had massive sneakers to fill when he entered Metro Bhawan in Delhi on December 31, 2011. E Sreedharan, broadly generally known as the nation’s metro man, was retiring because the managing director of Delhi Metro Rail Company (DMRC) after an excellent 14-year stint that included constructing 190 km of metro line within the capital. Singh was the substitute.

A former railway engineer identical to Sreedharan, Singh went on to show that metro rail could possibly be constructed sooner. His crew added one other 190 km underneath phase-III in simply seven years (2012-19). The goal now’s phase-IV that entails developing 104 km of tracks for Rs 34,580 crore.

Below Singh, DMRC engineers additionally constructed 10 km of Jaipur Metro and 25 km in Kochi Metro. It ought to come as no shock then that Singh, 64, has been given an extension until December 2020. Delhi Metro is a rarity amongst India’s core sector undertaking execution because it has had solely two bosses in over 20 years. Singh was a part of Sreedharan’s core crew from 1997, when DMRC was arrange.

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“The highest man must proceed until a undertaking will get accomplished,” Singh says. Constructing a metro system is all about studying from experiences, adhering to strict work self-discipline and adopting new know-how, he says. Earlier than DMRC, Singh was a part of India’s first metro undertaking — the Kolkata Metro, the one metro managed by Indian Railways. However that undertaking took 25 years to construct simply 16 km.

The development additionally precipitated unprecedented chaos on the roads, uprooted sewerage and water strains and introduced down buildings by accident. “All the things that would go mistaken went mistaken. It was an enormous lesson,” he says. Many initiatives by DMRC — equivalent to not permitting development of labour huts alongside the worksite in addition to introducing higher lighting system and a number of U-turns underneath flyovers — had been the end result of the learnings from Kolkata. Apart from operating the 389-km community, DMRC can be planning so as to add 104 km. However it additionally has to cope with coaches and tracks that at the moment are 15 years outdated and require extra upkeep. One massive problem was land acquisition underneath the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, which has no provision to accumulate land on a precedence foundation.

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“However we overcame that. Below the brand new regulation, compensation is profitable, and we turned it to our benefit by immediately approaching the landowners,” he says. Singh, a civil engineer from IIT-Roorkee, additionally appears to have discovered a method to deal with the stress that comes from heading an organization equally owned by the Authorities of India and the Authorities of Delhi.

“There isn’t a political stress on us. At instances, sure, we have now been examined. However we have now withstood it. The state of affairs is identical because it was throughout Sreedharan’s time,” he clarifies. However doesn’t he get upset when requested to close down metro stations to stonewall protests?

“It’s a difficult state of affairs. As an operator, we don’t need to shut stations. It causes inconvenience to our commuters. However on the identical time, we are able to’t go towards the recommendation of any safety company. We’ve got, nevertheless, made it amply clear that such a call must be taken on the prime stage of the company involved,” he provides.

Path to Future

By G Seetharaman

Radheshyam Mopalwar had his job minimize out on the Maharashtra State Highway Growth Company. The day he took cost as its vice-chairman and managing director in September 2015, he floated a young for a pre-feasibility research of a 701-km expressway from Nagpur to Mumbai, introduced simply over a month earlier by the then Maharashtra chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, who hails from Nagpur. This was going to be a mammoth train, with the whole land to be acquired round 20,000 acres — and 85% of it from non-public house owners in 392 villages in 10 districts. So MSRDC couldn’t afford to depart the acquisition to the income division, as is finished often.

“We functioned as a backoffice of collectors and offered logistical help with automobiles, land surveys, demarcation. We offered them with manpower,” says 62-year-old Mopalwar, who retired as MD of Maharashtra State Highway Growth Company (MSRDC) in 2018 however has since been given two extensions. Past the logistical challenges of surveying land and up-dating land data, MSRDC needed to persuade 22,000 households to half with their properties. So it appointed 350 communicators who held over three,000 conferences with landowners.

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“The largest shock was that the opposition within the media was not seen on the bottom. There was resistance from folks whose land was not acquired,” says Mopalwar, who was beforehand divisional commissioner of the Konkan division. He was despatched on go away in August 2017 over graft allegations. However a government-appointed panel cleared his title and he was reinstated 4 months later.

The land acquisition for the Rs 55,000 crore undertaking, additionally known as the Samruddhi Hall, was accomplished in a 12 months and development started final 12 months. The expressway will probably be operational in December 2021, aside from a brief stretch within the Thane portion, which will probably be commissioned by June 2022. The expressway will halve the journey time between Mumbai and Nagpur to eight hours. Since a 22-km stretch of the expressway passes by way of a wildlife hall close to two sanctuaries, MSRDC determined to associate with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to make the highway animal-friendly.

“We accepted no matter WII beneficial. We’re constructing overpasses at some locations and underpasses at others. They’ve additionally prompt we put up noise limitations.” The Samruddhi Hall is greater than seven instances so long as the Mumbai-Pune expressway and greater than twice so long as the one connecting Agra and Lucknow. If commissioned on time, it may function a benchmark for future tasks.