ON THE RIGHT TRACK

A HIS­TORIC JOUR­NEY

India Today - - STATES - —San­deep Un­nithan

The Delhi Metro was not In­dia’s first un­der­ground metro rail sys­tem. That dis­tinc­tion be­longs to the Cal­cutta Metro com­mis­sioned in 1984. But what the Delhi Metro Rail Cor­po­ra­tion did achieve was cre­at­ing an in­sti­tu­tion that ex­e­cuted projects with breath­tak­ing speed and ef­fi­ciency and min­i­mal time and cost over­runs to de­liver a world­class mass rapid tran­sit sys­tem. While Cal­cutta Metro’s 27-km stretch took 12 years to com­plete, the Delhi Metro took seven for its first 65-km line, two years and nine months ahead of sched­ule, in 2005. To­day, the Delhi Metro spans 218 kms in Delhi, with 164 sta­tions, and a sep­a­rate 17-km Air­port Ex­press link with six sta­tions. It also snakes into Haryana and Ut­tar Pradesh, pro­vid­ing a pol­lu­tion-free trans­port al­ter­na­tive to the ve­hi­cle-choked Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion. Six In­dian cities have the metro rail, with projects un­der way in a dozen oth­ers, from Ahmedabad to Kan­pur. The DMRC Gold Stan­dard of project ex­e­cu­tion has en­sured its man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, E. Sreed­ha­ran, 85, can never hang up his boots. His new­est at­tempt to re­sign from the metro rail project in UP was stymied by chief min­is­ter Yogi Adityanath.

METRO MAN E. Sreed­ha­ran

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