Exclusive interview with KVB Reddy, MD & CEO, L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Ltd

MRT Online Desk Posted on: 2023-01-07 09:15:00 Viewer: 5,632 Comments: 0 Country: India City: Hyderabad

Exclusive interview with KVB Reddy, MD & CEO, L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Ltd

KVB Reddy is the Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of L&T-Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited, the largest Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Project in Asia and the largest Metro Rail Project (MRTS) in the world being implemented in PPP mode on Design Built, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis, with an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 cr. He joined L&T Group effective 1st January 2018.  Prior to joining L&T, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Essar Power Limited and was associated with Essar for 22 years.

Reddy started his career with NTPC Delhi, as an Engineering Executive Trainee in 1983 and rose to the position of Manager (Planning & Systems-NCR). He served NTPC up to February 1995.

Reddy holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Regional Engineering College (presently known as NIT), Bhopal, and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Indira Gandhi National Open University.

Reddy brings a rich experience of three and half decades in the areas of Procurement, Project coordination and development, Operations & Maintenance, Business Development, Project Execution, EPC, Project Financing, Commercial and Business Strategy, Strategic Planning and implementation among others.

He is an effective communicator, an inspiring leader, a strong and quick decision-maker, and a person who believes in team efforts and delegates responsibilities to the team. His honesty & integrity, fair & impartial dealing, and trustworthiness prove him unique. The attributes and behavior that make a great leader is reflected in his personality.

Reddy’s areas of expertise include overall business development, project execution, operations & maintenance. His vast experience being at the helm of affairs has ingrained those leadership qualities that anyone in the corporate world will look for in a leader. He is approachable and has a down-to-earth attitude. He follows the adage of a leader is one who leads by example.

He is a person highly respected as a member of many associations and boards, all projects under him have been taken from initiation to closing. Besides, his forte lies in dealing with different stakeholders, bringing the best to the table in terms of technology and deliverables, sharing knowledge with students of engineering colleges by delivering expert lectures and conducting workshops, etc.

For his extraordinary capabilities, KVB Reddy has won several national and international leadership awards. Recently, L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited won "Excellence in Community Centric Technology Innovation" Award in ‘Rail & Metro’ category at the 2nd Urban Infra Business Summit & Awards 2022 held on 7th November 2022 in New Delhi, India.

In a recent intraction with Metro Rail Today, KVB Reddy talked on various commuter-centric initiatives and innovations by L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Ltd under his leadership.

First, kindly accept our heartiest congratulations for bagging "Excellence in Community Centric Technology Innovation" Award in ‘Rail & Metro’ category at the 2nd Urban Infra Business Summit & Awards 2022 held on 7th November 2022. What was your first reaction after hearing that L&THMRL has been selected for this prestigious award?

Many thanks for this recognition. On behalf of L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited, I express my gratitude for recongising us with the Excellence in Community Centric Technology Innovation Award 2022. At L&TMRHL, we are consistently raising our bars in terms of better technology integration empowering communities to opt for inclusive and environmentally sustainable commuting options within the city. To this feat, we have taken multitude of steps in fostering lasting relations with the city of Hyderabad in the span of last five years.

Kindly highlight some Community-centric initiatives started by L&THMRL for increasing better commuting experience in Hyderabad Metro Rail.

Hyderabad Metro Rail has been consistently engaging with communities through various unique engagement programmes. In fact, to reach out to the masses, we introduced a mega programme called Hyderabad Metro Rail Brand Ambassador campaign in Jan 2013, much before the Hyderabad Metro Rail project was operationalised.  This activity was spread over a period of 11 months touching various genres of society– School & College Students, Executives, Housewives, Senior Citizens and Entrepreneurs. The programme resonated well with the people at large and we saw over 25000 registrations completed in the first week itself, with over 1,92,000 visits to the website.

Similarly, once the metro services were launched, we continued our spree to reach out to communities to keep ourselves bonded with the city of Hyderabad. We have also been rolling out popular offers as part of our community engagement programmes providing more reasons to the commuters to use metro as their traveling partner, such programmes include - Metro Suvarna Offer, Trip Pass Offers, Special Fare Offers, Monthly Lucy Draw. As part of felicitating the commuters, we organise high decibel Prize distribution events as well, and making them a part of these celebrations.

In 2022, on the occasion of Ugadi festival, we launched our first of its kind Super Saver Metro Holiday Card, which could be purchased at a one-time non-refundable cost of Rs. 50/- to be used as an unlimited daily trip pass with a top up value of Rs. 59/- applicable on the 100 designated holidays. This offer was lapped up by our commuters and also helped increase the ridership during the holidays. We also introduced Green Miles Champion in August 2022 in collaboration with IGBC with a vision to connect with the IT / ITES, private firms, and educational bodies for collaboration post-COVID and to showcase the ‘Power of Green Travel’ which can be the biggest game changer towards India’s Net Zero Mission.

Complementing, the Super Saver Metro Card, an idea of flea market was devised making metro rail premises a marketing zone for people to come and explore while using the metro rail services. To this effect, Metro Bazar #ShoppingOnTheGo was kicked off with an idea was to connect with the metro passengers and provide more reasons to travel. Metro Bazar attracted 24 women entrepreneurs, who set up their stalls at the concourse levels of 6 metro stations (Ameerpet, Punjagutta, MGBS, Dilsukhnagar, Uppal and Secunderabad East) in a phased manner from June to September 2022.

In the month of March 2022, we collaborated with JD Institute of Fashion Technology Hyderabad to roll out a ‘Bunaai Utsav- Ek Ubharata Safar’- an ode to Telangana Handloom Textiles and Local Art. As part of this activation, we also took up HMR’s first ever live ramp walk inside metro trains and on concourse level. Apart from that, timing with the World Music Day on 21 June 2022, we identified another opportunity to bond with our community and created a signature programme– Metro Medley, with a vision to promote art and culture leading to passenger engagement and brand resonance.

We have also been collaborating with Star Maa Bigg Boss for last 3 years. This year, too HMR collaborated with the Bigg Boss Season 6 to launch the “Bigg Boss Is Watching You” - a Public Safety Awareness Campaign for HMR. This entailed 100-day campaign period covers the concourse, entry-exit, and check-in sections of all 57 Metro Stations making the metro commuters aware about the safety precautions while travelling through metro.

Other than the above we also engage with underprivileged communities including visually challenged orphanages by facilitating metro train rides providing a real time experience to these kids. Recently, as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, a joy ride was organised for the specially-abled students of a city-based orphanage and school.

As 2022 is ending soon, what are your expectations in 2023 in respect to recovery of ridership at pre-covid level? What are in your priorities list for the next year?

After the commencement of universal immunisation for COVID-19, we saw the world gaining back its confidence helping markets and business restart with full force. This optimism brought back our ridership and by December 2022, we have already crossed the pre-COVID level (~3.9lac daily ridership) to over 4.5 lac commuters daily. Till Dec 2022, we have handled about 11 crore passengers in the last 12 month, which is more than double to what we carried in calendar year 2021 (about 5.2 crore passengers). For the upcoming year, our unstinted focus is on increasing ridership of Hyderabad Metro Rail. We are also working towards better first and last mile connectivity in association with our partners, civic bodies and local government.

As part of engagement with our commuters, we are coming up with lot of more exciting programmes which would make traveling experience worth cherishing. In this line, we would further collaborate with the commuters making them aware about reducing their carbon footprints effectively using metro trains for city commute. We are also investing in various digital initiatives which would further augment paper-less and more inclusive travel experience in the city.

Telangana CM had recently laid foundation stone of 31-km Hyderabad Airport Metro Link. Is L&THMRL also going to bid to operate & maintain the same like Phase 1? 

L&TMRHL took up the first phase of Hyderabad Metro Rail under PPP model. The second phase is being taken care by the state government of Telangana, which has initiated the expansion of Hyderabad Metro Rail in the city. The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Telangana Sri K. Chandrashekar Rao laid the foundation stone for Hyderabad Airport Express Metro on 9 December 2022. With this, we are expecting the entire landscape of urban mass rapid transit system to change in Hyderabad positively impacting the mobility of the citizens.

According to you, what are the major challenges in implementation & operation of a PPP metro rail project?

Metro Rail projects are high on capital and time. No metro rail services across the world are financially profitable. Metro projects are also long-gestation projects, with far-fetched break-even probability. Hence, fixing of fares is important. In this line, if state governments form a Fare Fixation Committee in accordance with the Metro Railways (Operations & Maintenance) Act, 2002, before implementing a metro project, it can attract more PPP investments.

Issues like ROW challenges private players in meeting the timelines. Once any project is operational ridership remains a challenge, many times due to lack of robust last mile connectivity. However, government is working towards creating right and conducive environment for private players to participate. The new Metro Rail Policy 2017 provides right framework to follow. Addressing ROW issues in line with the project timelines would help save lot of time and cost escalation.

Availability of debt finance with long tenures is another area that needs to be better enabled. First and Last Mile Connectivity along with an integrated mode of transportation need lot more focus to help increase in the ridership of metro.

Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) as a statutory body with more powers is required to guide the integrated planning and management of urban transport.

What is your feedback on our publications such as Metro Rail Today and Urban Transport News?

Metro Rail Today and Urban Transport News are doing great service to the metro rail fraternity. I must appreciate you for bringing us the day-to-day updates and development in metro rail sector and enabling a knowledge sharing platform. Kudos to your team and keep up the good works!!!


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