Metro Rail News Team conducted an Interview of Mr. H. K. RAGHU, ED (Urban Transport & High Speed), RDSO, Lucknow. He talks about his journey and current roles and responsibilities at RDSO, Here are the edited excerpts of the conversation
1. Please let us know about your journey in RDSO? What have been the most challenging projects you have come across in your very eminent experience in Indian Railways?
Mr. H.K. RAGHU: My journey in RDSO has started only from 8 Aug 2019 in the capacity of
Executive Director of Urban Transport and High-Speed Directorate, but my association with RDSO as a Railway Executive is started since 1994 when I was posted in Rail Spring Karkhana Sithauli Gwalior.
2: In the last few years, RDSO has been on a Vendor Development Drive, promoting localization and new suppliers. Can you please share some insights into the same and what are some components for which RDSO is still seeking for new suppliers? Further, what components are you looking for localization for components for metro projects?
Mr. RAGHU: RDSO has made tremendous improvement in its vendor development procedure. Now online vendor approval is done. RDSO is always looking for increasing its vendor base due to ever-increasing demand and change in technologies. All details are available in RDSO official website www.rdso.indianrailways.gov.in
3: As we know that in India, We are aiming for standardization in metro rail systems and currently, 600+ km of metro lines are operational, so please give us some suggestions on how can the standardization be achieved? Additionally, how many km of projects do you foresee will be tendered in India in the next 3 years?
Mr. RAGHU: For standardization of Metro Systems in INDIA, Ministry of Urban and Housing Affairs, dealing with Urban Transport and mobility, has made the required efforts, by publishing its report “STANDARDIZATION AND INDIGENIZATION OF METRO RAILWAYS, SYSTEMS AND SUB-SYSTEMS” in NOVEMBER 2013. After that Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (DMRC) and other Metros have made further efforts in Indigenization of its components and systems. DMRC has already indigenized its 18 Subsystem and 17 UNIT EXCHANGE SPARES costing 18.7 Lakh US $ and 34 Sub Systems costing 3.83 Lakh US $ are identified for Indigenization.
Nagpur Metro is Looking forward to the indigenization of 28 different items costing Rs.13.74 Crores per train set.
Similarly, other Metro systems are also working for Make in INDIA efforts, Mumbai Metro Line-3 has finalized its Rolling Stock Tender on M/s Alstom based at Shricity Andhra Pradesh and Pune metro has given its order of Rolling Stock on Titagarh Fima, based in Kolkatta.
Real standardization and interoperability of the Rolling Stock will be achieved only after the development of its own CBTC Systems in India. DMRC is working on this in collaboration with M/s BEL for ATC (Supervisor System) in the First stage, after that on the successful implementation of ATC the work on CBTC will be undertaken.
NITI Aayog is giving a lot of emphasis on “Make in INDIA” and indigenization of Metro Systems, accordingly policies are framed to support it . as per the recent published NITI Aayog STRATEGY FOR NEW INDIA 2020, there are many incentives to the Indian Industries for achieving Industry 4.0 standards, required for producing Metro systems and Metro Components.
3: Presently, the viability of costly metro rail projects, especially in smaller cities is under review, and the Government is planning to adopt the Metro-neo and Metro-lite transit systems. So how do you think that these transit systems can help smaller Indian Cities and also bring convenience to the passengers?
Mr. RAGHU: Metro-lite and Metro-neo both the concepts, though new to India, but both exist the world over. While we make this infrastructure in INDIA, we need to keep in mind that operating of these facilities is to be funded by the state to provide better and respectable transport facilities at affordable rates. Here it is pertinent to mention that these facilities need to be energy efficient and preferably green. Metro-neo is less efficient than Metro-lite, due to pneumatic wheels over the road, having higher friction loss of energy. For saving our climate, we need to look forward to Hydrogen fuel cell technology, rather than going for electric energy, which at present is produced in INDIA, through Coal energy-based Steam Thermal power plants, which is less efficient and a major cause of environmental concern. Till we become self-sufficient in energy, we must keep exploring the alternate methods of energy generation, especially for transportation.
4: In terms of PPP Collaboration with the Private Sector, What are the key points which are the most important for a successful collaboration between the Govt. and Private companies?
Mr. RAGHU: Metro is already in PPP mode, Hyderabad and Pune Metro are the example. For Private partnership, this should be taken as one of the Corporate Responsibility The project, rather than looking for profit out of it. For supplying of items related to Metro systems, Private firm need to be Industry 4.0 level, for which NITI Aayog has already given its broad outlines in its report on New INDIA 2020.
5: Any suggestions on how the Passenger experience in metros can be improved in India along with making the projects sustainable for the long term?
Mr. RAGHU: Controlling the crowd per train and increasing the frequency of trains in peak hours, is the need for requirements, with better reliability. Metro stations are to be made Multy utility, Commercial hubs so that the total cost on metro operation can be compensated, most of the new cities are looking for malls and party joints, this should be clubbed with the metro stations. The basement is to be provided with taxi cab/e-rickshaw facilities for point to point connectivity up to the last mile, in fact, the home itself.
6: Anything you would like to share with our readers?
Mr. RAGHU: Readers need to go through and get them well acquainted with the latest government policies published through NITI Aayog New India 2020 and Accelerating Vision 2030: India Investment Grid