Exclusive Interview with SVR Srinivas IAS & Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA

Vinod Shah Posted on: 2022-04-06 11:00:00 Viewer: 3,833 Comments: 0 Country: India City: Mumbai

Exclusive Interview with SVR Srinivas IAS & Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA

SVR Srinivas, a 1991 batch IAS officer, who presently holds the position of Metropolitan Commissioner of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and Managing Director of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRC) comes with more than 20 years of experience in Urban Infrastructure. He chaired & coordinated multidisciplinary teams engaged in Urban Transport, Metro Railways & Urban Planning.

In a recent interaction with Metro Rail Today (Urban Infra Communication), Srinivas shared his thought on the need for urban transportation in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and his priorities to decongest traffic issues in the region. Here are excerpts:-

First, kindly accept our heartiest congratulations on the opening of the long-awaited Phase 1 of Mumbai Metro Line 2A & 7. What are your next priorities and when the remaining sections of these lines will be commissioned?

It is teamwork.  The system will stabilize in a month.  Our next priorities are to complete Phase II of Line 2A & 7 so that it will connect to existing Line 1 at D. N. Nagar and WEH respectively and people can travel through the complete loop. To achieve this target following work has to be done on priority.

Completion of all civil works for remaining stations of Line 2A & 7 including Entry-Exit structures. Completion of OHE wiring works, Signalling works, and all System works at stations. Completion of all balance work of Phase II for safety certificate from CMRS to commissioning the phase II by next five to six months.

Having taken over recently as MD of MMRC, you have a variety of issues on your plate. What do you think is the most important issue that has to be tackled keeping the interests of this project in mind?

Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) is already developing a facility to receive the First train and undertake tests.  Depot is the most – pressing issue.

The State govt. is exploring the possibility of an amicable/workable alternative solution for Depot which will soon be finalized that will facilitate early commissioning.

As construction of the underground tunnel and metro stations of Mumbai Metro Line-3 are almost in the finishing stage, but carshed is still an issue. Did you find an alternate solution to commence the trial run on this corridor? With all its problems, when can we expect the commissioning of the first phase of Line 3 (Aarey to BKC section)?

MMRC is already developing a facility to receive the First train and undertake tests.

The State govt is ceased the Metro 3 Depot issue. An amicable/workable alternative solution for Depot will soon be finalised that will facilitate early commissioning.

A large section of commuters is eagerly waiting for the commissioning of the remaining metro corridors of the Mumbai Metro Rail Project. Please throw some light on the current status and completion target of these lines.

Presently, Phase-II of Metro Line 2A & 7, Line 2B (D. N. Nagar-Mandale), Line 3, Line 4 & 4A (Wadala-Kasarvadavali-Gaimukh), Line 5 (Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan), Line 6 (Swami Samarth Nagar-Vikhroli), Line 9 & 7A (Dahisar (E)-Mira Bhayander & Andheri (E)-CSMIA) is under various stages of implementation.

Work started on Metro line 10 & line 12 by inviting tenders for the appointment of a General consultant.

DPR is under update by DMRC for faster metro connectivity between Mumbai & Navi Mumbai International airport i.e. Line 8(Airport Metro – CSMIA to NMIA) and Line 13 (Shivaji Chowk (Mira Road) to Virar). Also, the draft DPR was received from Milan Metro for Metro Line 14.

With the addition, the total length of Metro Corridors will be 337 km and the aim is to complete most of these corridors by 2024-26.

We can see that the Mumbai Metro project has missed several deadlines and consequent escalation in costs, how are you planning to mobilize funds for the projects?

We have a resource mobilization strategy in place now. Civil works of the Metro project are being funded by MMRDA. Funding for the System works was proposed to External funding agencies. This led to substantial savings in time & money by the state.

Typically for external funding of the projects the route followed is - MMRDA Proposes to GoM, which through MoUD proposes to DEA for external agency funding. In addition, we are also exploring the possibility of raising resources by borrowing from domestic markets.

With the growing population and the pressure on infrastructure in a Megapolis like Mumbai, what would you advise urban planners on ways to ease urban mobility? 

We can work on -

  • Tapping of TOD potential at select transit stations.
  • Multi-Modal Integration at all transit stations.
  • Development of greenfield areas (Growth Areas/ Growth centres)
  • Focus on NMT facilities while preparation of Development Plans/ Master Plans.

What is your take on our publications i.e., Metro Rail Today, Urban Transport News? Is there anything about the publications you think we could do better?

Being a regular reader of your publications, we seek-

  • More coverage of Indian metro case studies on metro implementation Challenges and lessons learned are required
  • Sources of funding for capital and O&M expenses in case of Indian cities are to be addressed
  • Focus on how we can enhance the metro ridership and the need for route rationalisation of bus services as last-mile connectivity required
  • Needed changes in Development Control Regulations for achieving higher population and employment densities around transit stations based on TOD principles.

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