DMRC MD Dr. Mangu Singh
– Photo: amar ujala
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In view of the protection from corona infection, the Metro services which were closed for the last 151 days are expected to start soon. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has completed preparations to bring the metro back on track. The lockdown has many challenges in the way of Metro, the lifeline for Delhiites. Excerpts from special correspondence of Special Correspondent Sarvesh Kumar from DMRC Managing Director Dr. Mangu Singh on all these issues.
answer: We are also eagerly awaiting the commencement of metro services with passengers. Within two-three days of getting permission from the central government, passengers will be able to travel in the metro again. Safety of passengers is our top priority. As conditions improve, metro services will be provided at the government's directive with precautionary measures.
Question: Metro services have been closed for the last 151 days. How did DMRC advance itself in adverse circumstances?
answer: From the initial phase of the lockdown, DMRC completed the ground work by preparing the design for Phase-4 experts. In addition to better coordination between departments, the consultants and all concerned agencies came together on the online platform. This gave a new impetus to the works. The time taken in face-to-face conversation was reduced considerably. During this period, work on three corridors has been started by preparing the complete blueprint for Phase-IV project.
Question: How much effect can the Metro services have on Phase 4?
answer: DMRC took this time as a challenge. The lockdown time was long. In the last five months, apart from the labor shortage, financial crisis, all the stakeholders had their own obstacles. Despite this, Phase-4 projects may be delayed by two to three months. Efforts are on to reduce it.
Question: Construction of the fifth bridge on Yamuna has also started, how much will it benefit?
answer: The construction of Delhi Metro's fifth bridge over Yamuna has been started. This will bring great relief to lakhs of travelers daily. Before starting the construction, approval of Yamuna Action Committee was taken after studying all the technical aspects. DMRC's priority is to make Delhi's environment better.
Question: What can be changed for the safety of passengers when Metro services start?
answer: The SOP (Standard) was formulated on the direction of the Ministry of Urban Development for the protection of passengers from post-infection. A sense of security is essential in the passengers, so as to control congestion inside the station and metro, at least gate opening, entry at regular intervals when there are more passengers, thermal screening, Arogya Setu app, station for social distancing and Marking has also been done in the metro. Only two to three passengers will be able to ride in the lift.
Question: There is a risk of infection from tokens and cash for travel, what measures are being taken for this?
answer: It is difficult to sanitize millions of tokens, so in the initial days only smart cards will allow travelers to travel. There is no risk of infection, so there will be a provision for cashless transactions for the top up of the card.
Question: Due to social distancing, ticket sales will also be low, how will we face this situation of financial crisis?
answer: Safety of passengers from infection is the top priority of DMRC. At the moment, very few people are coming out of their homes, so there will be no problem in following social distancing. If there is a loss, then there is nothing more important than the safety of the passengers. The committee is responsible for changing the ticket rates.
Question: What was the biggest challenge?
answer: Metro services are completely technology based, so it cannot be closed. To maintain the health of the metro, operations were carried out in one or two trips daily. Financial crisis is the biggest challenge. Earnings were nil due to discontinuation of services but there was no reduction in expenses.
Question: What is being done to improve the financial position of DMRC?
answer: DMRC owes about Rs 1,200 crore loan this year. A year has been sought to pay it off, while negotiations are on with the government on various options to improve financial health. On the other hand DMRC is doing cost cutting at its level. Apart from reduction in allowance of metro personnel, many other deferred schemes have been postponed for a year.
Question: How long can DMRC reach the same situation again?
answer: To reach a chronic condition, it is necessary to improve the corona condition. How long this may take is not clear at the moment. But, one thing I would like to mention is that there is no other alternative to public transport. We try our best to get back on track again once the infection clouds clear. After a few days, after the improvement in the situation, again as before, passengers will adopt the metro as a lifeline.
Question: How did you spend some leisure time during the lockdown?
answer: Always gave time to read the newspaper daily. I belong to Bijnor, so I have been a reader of Tech for FTCP for the last 20-25 years. There were few newspapers so long ago, but due to the local news in Tech for FTCP along with other news, readers have always been on this side.