Exclusive Interview with Rinaj Pathan, Chief Engineer, Pune Metro Line 3, PMRDA

MRT Online Desk Posted on: 2024-02-01 15:30:00 Viewer: 1,656 Comments: 0 Country: India City: Pune

Exclusive Interview with Rinaj Pathan, Chief Engineer, Pune Metro Line 3, PMRDA

Ms. Rinaj Pathan has been a driving force behind the development of the project since its inception, showcasing exemplary leadership and project management skills. Currently serving on deputation at PMRDA from the Public Works Department of the Government of Maharashtra, she has played a pivotal role in various aspects of the project's execution. Ms. Pathan's contributions span the development of the Concession Agreement, crafting innovative financing solutions, and designing the project for optimal land acquisition of approximately 50 hectares of brownfield area.

As a trailblazer, Ms. Pathan has demonstrated her decision-making prowess, ensuring the efficient and timely execution of the project. Notably, she has secured approvals for Viability Gap Funding amounting to Rs. 1,225 crore from the Central Government, showcasing her adeptness in navigating complex regulatory landscapes. Additionally, her role involves stakeholder coordination, traffic management, and supervision of the Concessionaire's work, contributing to the seamless implementation of the project.

Ms. Rinaj Pathan's achievements extend beyond project management, as she holds the distinction of being the first woman officer promoted to the position of Chief Engineer within the Public Works Department in the state of Maharashtra.

Her competence, quick decision-making skills, engineering acumen, and unwavering commitment to ethical practices have been instrumental in the successful delivery of this significant project. Recognized for her outstanding contributions, Ms. Pathan was honored as the "Modern Metro Women of the Year" at the prestigious 3rd Urban Infra Business Summit & Awards 2023 was held on December 7, 2023, at the India International Centre, New Delhi.

How do you feel about receiving the Urban Infra Business Leadership Award, and what does this recognition mean to you personally and professionally?

I would like to express my gratitude towards the Selection Committee for having a category to recognize women's role in urban infrastructure development. It reflects the cultural shift in the mindset of the new India and paves the way for gender equality in governance and the development sector. I'm accepting this award on behalf of all women who are actively involved in nation-building and creating state-of-the-art infrastructure.

I thank my family members, my colleagues at PMRDA, especially my boss, Hon'ble Commissioner Shri Rahul Mahiwal Sir, and all the previous Commissioners for allowing me to work on this prestigious and challenging project.

Can you please throw some light on the Project?

The Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority is implementing the 23.203 km Pune Metro Line 3 project connecting the 1000-acre Rajiv Gandhi IT Park at Hinjawadi to the city center at Shivajinagar on a private Partnership basis under the Design Build Finance Operate Transfer model. The Metro shall re-vitalise the Hinjawadi IT Park attracting more investment and providing relief from traffic snarls and pollution to the employees and the residents alike thereby increasing the livability index of the city.

The Authority has awarded the contract to the Joint Venture of TRIL Urban Transport Pvt. Ltd. and Siemens Project Ventures GmbH. The Concession Agreement has been signed on 21.09.2019 and the Appointed Date has been declared on 25.11.2022.  About 53% of the work is complete.

What were/are the major challenges being faced during the implementation of Pune Metro Line 3, and how did your leadership address and overcome these challenges?

I would like to mention three major challenges we faced during execution –

  • Like every large-scale infrastructure project, land acquisition was a major hurdle in this Project especially because the entire alignment passed through brownfield developed areas. The Authority had to liaise with private landowners, various government instrumentalities both Central and State, urban local bodies, industry development corporations, and various companies operating in the IT Park. I’m proud to say that this Project is the only project in the country wherein 97% of the land was acquired before the commencement of site execution works.
  • Another hurdle we faced was shifting of utilities like the 220kV high tension lines, street lights, drainage lines, MNGL lines, BSNL lines, storm water lines, water pipelines etc. It is vital to ensure that during the shifting of utilities, minimum inconvenience is caused to the citizens. Furthermore, due to the wide array of utilities and utility-owning agencies, this task further becomes more challenging. PMRDA, through its policy of coordinated efforts amongst various agencies, has been able to address this humongous task successfully.
  • Considering the population increase in the Pune Metropolitan Region in the last decade and the alignment passing through one of the busiest junctions/ roads of Pune city, traffic diversion and traffic management was a crucial activity. PMRDA has been successfully able to work on traffic diversion arrangements and phased barricading programs ensuring timely execution without causing grave inconvenience to citizens.

As the leader overseeing the implementation, what steps were taken to ensure environmental sustainability and minimize the project's ecological footprint?

In this project, the cement has been partially replaced by Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag (as high as 50% for some designs) in civil structures, thereby reducing the carbon footprint and damage to the environment. In addition to this, Solar PV Array loads are being accounted for in the design of permanent structures to increase the share of renewables during operations. Rainwater harvesting (groundwater recharge) is being extensively adopted. Pune metro Line 3 stations are being built with a green building concept with innovative station design with a sustainable energy concept. Stations are designed taking into consideration natural light and ventilation and with the provisions of solar power and energy-efficient equipment, its energy requirement has been minimized.

In your opinion, how significant are events like the Urban Infra Business Summit & Awards in fostering collaboration and innovation within the Urban Infrastructure sector?

Events like the Urban Infra Business Summit help bring the best of innovation & success stories at one forum wherein people from various sectors & backgrounds can come together, network, exchange their learnings & collaborate.

What aspects of the summit and the awards ceremony did you find most impactful or memorable?

In totality, it was an enriching experience to be a part of the Summit. Personally, I liked the presentations & panel discussions delivered by subject matter experts & the variety of perspectives & depth of solutions that their experts brought to the table.

As an industry leader, what role do you believe the recognition of excellence plays in driving positive change and inspiring others in the field?

Recognition is one of the driving factors of growth & progress. Furthermore, it helps share the knowledge & wisdom gained so that people learn from each other. It inspires the subsequent generations to take a step further, innovate & deliver a quality product. Case Study-based brainstorming sessions would also increase the effectiveness of the Summit.

Are there any specific suggestions you have for improving future editions of the Urban Infra Business Summit & Awards, or aspects you would like to see emphasized in upcoming events?

I congratulate the entire Urban Infra team for organizing this successful event. One area of improvement could be organizing networking or ice-breaking sessions so that the attendees get to know each other better. Secondly, this program could be organized in other cities where large-scale infrastructure projects are being undertaken like Pune, Surat, Hyderabad etc. so that people from various versions can extensively participate.


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