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Better late than never, a comment from the Delhi Metro
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Female commuters board a women-only coach at a Delhi Metro train station in New Delhi on October 2, 2010. The Indian capital is scheduled to host the Commonwealth Games October 3-14, the biggest sporting event in the city since the 1982 Asian Games. AFP PHOTO/Prakash SINGH (PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

Here's one for the better late than never file: Answers from the spokesman for the Delhi Metro Corporation....  For the original article on how the train tamed Delhi's rude commuters, and is starting to erase the city's rock hard class barrier, see here.

(Answers from the DMRC's Anuj Dayal:)

Q: As per your internal reviews/ any external studies, how has the Metro affected traffic flows and conjestion so far?

Ans: The Delhi Metro has played a major role in providing a world class public transport system to the people of Delhi. Apart from reducing traffic congestion, Delhi Metro has also tremendously helped in reducing the pollution levels in the city. In fact, according to projections made by the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) in 2009, the Delhi Metro is expected to help in removing about 1.5 lakh vehicles from the streets of the city by the end of 2011.
Today we are carrying over 1.5 million passengers everyday on seven operational lines spanning over 184 kilometres. It is due to the expansion of Delhi Metro that, today people are commuting easily from Gurgaon in Haryana to NOIDA in Uttar Pradesh. We, in fact, intend to take the Metro within 500 metres of every household in the city.
(table omitted)

Q: Everyone is amazed that the project has met its deadlines and stayed on budget. What is the secret?

Ans: Two very important decisions were taken before starting the construction work of Delhi Metro. The first step was that, the project was equally divided into a few parts and separate teams of engineers were allocated to execute the work. Therefore, there were separate chief project managers for each stretch and deputy chief engineers for sections within those stretches. This decision ensured that the work continued simultaneously on all the under construction corridors. In many infrastructure projects in India, work remains incomplete in some places while some other areas see better progress. In order to finish the project on time, we wanted to avoid such situations.

Another major step was to introduce a competent and transparent management system, which was not susceptible to red tape, so very typical of other government agencies. Rather than relying on excessive paper work, the Managing Director stressed on meeting the officers regularly and take decisions on the spot. Even today, we have a weekly meeting of all heads of the departments, where we take many major decisions. By doing so, we have succeeded to cut short the time taken by unnecessary paper work. That apart, efforts are made to ensure that the contractors are paid their dues on time so that they do not haul up work for the want of funds. Countdown clocks detailing the number of days left for the commissioning of the projects are put up at the site offices which keep reminding the employees about the requirement of executing their work on time.

Q: How did you create such a different work culture from other government entities?

Ans: A vibrant work culture is created by a committed workforce and our employees are our biggest assets. Whatever success DMRC has achieved today is all because of their continuous commitment and hard work. Therefore, we try to ensure that they are in the best possible frame of mind to work.
DMRC lays a lot of importance on stress management of the employees. Therefore, every employee is trained in yoga and meditation when he joins the organization. The Human Resource department keeps organizing competency building workshops for both executives and non executives where a lot of importance is given on skill development of the employees. The employees are also regularly sent outside to participate in workshops and seminars for greater exposure.
We encourage the employees to read the Bhagawad Gita regularly. It is believed within the organization that the Gita has answers to all the modern day stress related issues. It is not a religious book but a tremendous management manual.

Q: What have the Metro’s biggest challenges so far?

Ans: Constructing such a humungous infrastructure in the heart of a congested city like Delhi was not easy at all. In the developed world, the transportation infrastructure like roads, Metro etc are created first and then human settlements follow. However, here it was the other way round.
There were a plenty of other challenges such as carrying on with construction without causing inconvenience to the people, providing adequate road diversions so that traffic was not hampered, liaison with other agencies for getting various clearances, resisting pressures from various quarters related to the fixing of Metro alignments.

Q: After Phase 4, the Metro will be bigger than the London Underground, correct? What will that mean for Delhi?

Ans: After the completion of Phase 4 in 2021, Delhi Metro proposes to have a total network of about 420 kilometres, which will indeed be more than that of the current network of the London tube.

With such a massive network, we plan to take the Metro within 500 metres of each and every household of the city. Today, Delhi has more vehicles than the combined number of vehicles in the other three Metropolises of Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. A Metro network of over 400 kilometres will cut across the length and breadth of the entire national capital region and help a lot in reducing the rapid increase in private vehicles. Apart from reducing traffic congestion on the roads, the network will also help in controlling pollution and providing a comfortable air conditioned mode of travel to the people.
Any infrastructural landmark also provides a boost to the economy of the area. Such a big network will mean that more areas will now become accessible due to which both industrialization and the real estate sector will get benefitted.  

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