Mr. Kumar Keshav, an IRSE (Indian Railway Service of Engineers) officer and a gold-medallist engineer from IIT- Kanpur (M.Tech) and IIT-Roorkee (B.E.), took over as Managing Director of the company on 18th August 2014. As Director (Projects & Planning) at Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), he is credited with successfully completing and commissioning various projects in Delhi Metro.
He held the prestige of the nation high during the XIXth Commonwealth Games, 2010 when he commissioned the Central Secretariat -Badarpur Metro project on 3rd October 2010 – just on the day of the start of the Commonwealth Games – when approximately 70,000 public traveled by Delhi Metro to reach the main venue of the global sporting extravaganza – the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
As regards the Lucknow Metro Project, it is a dream which is being realized by him. Lucknow Metro is a dream project of the people of Uttar Pradesh which is being executed by Metro engineers under the leadership of Shri Kumar Keshav. Work for this project is going on day and night without any break with the Managing Director leaving no stone unturned to see that the 8.5 km priority Metro corridor is commissioned for trial runs on 1st December, 2016 in just two years and two month period which is a record in itself, thereby achieving the distinction of being the fastest ever Metro project execution that has ever happened in the Country as stated by ‘Metro Man’ Dr. E. Sreedharan.
Lucknow Metro is a rapid transit system serving the city of Lucknow in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Construction of the line began on 27 September 2014 with the 8.5 km (5.3 mi) stretch from Transport Nagar to Charbagh Railway Station which began its commercial operation on 5 September 2017, making it the fastest built metro rail system in the country.
Lucknow Metro recently completed the successful load testing of the remaining section of the North-South corridor. Metro Rail News has conducted an interview with Mr. Kumar Keshav, Managing Director of Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation. Here are the excerpt from the interview:
What are the key concerns you faced while making the Metro what it is today?
Lucknow Metro, City’s pride. It feels just like yesterday when we commenced the Commercial Operations for Lucknow Metro for the first time on 5th September, 2017. From the dream of a Metro plying through the city of Nawabs to opening the entire stretch of the North-South Corridor for the public, this journey has been a roller coaster ride of challenges, accomplishments and a storm of emotions and hard work of the entire team behind the Lucknow Metro project and since then there has been no looking back. Lucknow, being the capital city, metro construction was a difficult subject. Fortunately, we were able to garner favorable public opinion through consistent interaction with the public. Lucknow Metro has achieved the distinction of being the fastest Metro Project execution that has ever happened in the country so far. Racing against time to complete the project was in itself a big challenge for us. The other challenges we faced were related to engineering construction. Lucknow being an old heritage city, construction at populated areas was the most challenging.
Please brief us on the current status of the metro rail project?
Lucknow Metro recently completed the successful load testing of the remaining section of the North-South corridor. We have also started the trial run on this stretch. This is being seen by many technical experts here and elsewhere in the country as yet another milestone for the 22.878 km long corridor from the Chowdhary Charan Singh International Airport to Munshipulia. The Metro work is likely to be completed by February, much ahead of the initial deadline of April 2019.
The journey hasn’t been easy but it’s definitely worth the outcome. We faced uncountable challenges throughout the construction phase but as is rightly said ‘Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you’, we kept going and the rest is history. With a team made of steel Lucknow Metro has emerged as a fine example of excellence in the field of Mass Rapid Transit System.
What is the step LMRCL has taken for environment safety and utilization of solar energy?
To conserve energy and use renewable sources of energy, Lucknow Metro has taken many initiatives such as regenerative braking in the trains which will result in saving 30-35% traction energy, use of 1% criteria for underground stations in the air conditioning system, using Variable Voltage Variable Frequency (VVVF) drive for all lifts and escalators, provision of LED lights at stations, use of energy efficient equipment for Environmental Control System (ECS) and Tunnel Ventilation System (TVS) system for the underground stations etc. Currently, Lucknow Metro has planned 1.5- 2MW solar energy under the RESCO model from the roof mounted photo voltaic cells on stabling and inspection sheds in Transport Nagar Car Maintenance Depot. Because of all these novel measures, society will be able to recover the entire investment cost on the project in just 5 years, Economic Rate of Return (EIRR) of the Project being 19.46%. To create sustainable environment LMRC’s Metro stations and Depot have been designed and built as ‘Green’ buildings in accordance with the standards of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). Apart from this, on the occasion of the World Environment Day on 5th June, 2017, LMRC has been awarded International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001:2004 & Occupational Health & Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) 18001:2007 certifications in recognition of the organization’s compliances with international standards.
Lucknow Metro has so far relocated 410 trees and a total of 537 trees have been saved through changes in design. LED Lights are used in all stations and trains of LMRC. 1.0 MWp capacity solar-roof plant has been installed in the Transport Nagar Depot. Along with it, a Waste Composting Machine has been installed in the depot
The work of the North-South corridor is likely to be completed by February 2019 please elaborate about this corridor.
The 23-km stretch from the Chaudhary Charan Singh airport to Munshipullia will have 21 stations. For this long route, the maximum fare will be Rs 60.Currently, it takes around 90 minutes to reach from Munshipulia to the airport, but once the route is operational, this distance will be covered in 40 minutes, and no one has to face the problems of a traffic jam.
What are the challenges specific to this corridor and how has it been overcome?
The most difficult work on this stretch was the construction of a 177-metre-long cantilever bridge on the Gomti River. By using high skill technology, tools and most important the continuous day and night effort of our team has made the challenge to overcome.
What are the unique features of this corridor and do you expect that this corridor will help boost the overall ridership of Lucknow Metro?
The operation of this corridor will definitely boost the overall ridership of Lucknow Metro.
We have also taken some unique initiatives keeping in mind the commuters. Lucknow Metro is the first Metro in the country which has tied up with Radio City 91.1 FM and launched its very own FM Radio. It is now providing specialized content, public announcements, jingles and melodious music at all Metro stations for the commuters of Lucknow Metro. In order to provide a push to government’s ‘Digital India’ campaign and an extended benefit for the Metro commuters, Lucknow Metro started providing free Wi-Fi facility to its ‘Go Smart’ card users at all its operational Metro stations.
Transport Nagar to Charbagh Railway Station was built in record time making Lucknow metro as the fastest built metro rail system in the country. A similar feat is being achieved for the second corridor as it is two months ahead of its deadline. How this has been made possible?
Construction of Metro ina city like Lucknow has been a challenge in itself. In a period of just less than three years, Lucknow Metro has created a world record and has earned the distinction of being the fastest Metro which has ever been implemented so far. The 8.5 km “Priority Corridor” of the North – South Metro Corridor (Phase 1A) between Transport Nagar & Charbagh consisting of eight elevated Metro stations has been completed in a very stiff time-frame. It’s been a landmark achievement in the history of Metro Rail Project execution which has set a new benchmark in Metro construction in the Country. Similarly we recently completed the successful load testing of the remaining section of the North-South corridor. This is being seen by many technical experts here and elsewhere in the country as yet another milestone for the 22.878 km long corridor from the Chowdhary Charan Singh International Airport to Munshipulia. The Metro work is likely to be completed by February, much ahead of the initial deadline of April 2019. All this has been achieved purely because of team work and a dream that we all started off with of giving Lucknow a world class transit system. I would also attribute this achievement to the people of Lucknow, who have been immensely supportive for this project ever since its inception. It is because of their patience and cooperation that we have been able to realize this dream of a Metro in the ‘City of Nawabs’.
Any other information, you want to share with us with respect to technology development in metro rail industries.
Ticketing has been amongst the most innovative areas within rail and metro, perhaps most visible in smart-card systems overtaking paper tickets in a growing number of the world’s transport networks. The next development could well be Virtual Agents, essentially at station computer offering a combination of ticket office, vending machine and call centre. A passenger using the Virtual Agent is able to talk to a ‘real person’ in ‘real time’ offering a similar experience to being at the ticket window except over a video link. The ticket agent you speak to would be likely at a central ticket office hub.
Apart from publishing daily news updates on Metro Rail News portal, Our Monthly Magazine covering chronicle development in urban transport in India. How do you think we can partner with railway industries across the country to popularize their project developments?
The urban transport in India is undergoing a revolutionary upgrade; it would be wonderful if you capture this journey through your Magazine. You can take projects from the Railways, Rapid transit systems and the Highways and feature them in your magazine. These feature stories should cover the entire journey of conception, development and execution of the project.
(The interview appears in Metro Rail News February 2019 edition)
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