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Bangalore Metro! Learn from your Delhi, Kolkata cousins

The men behind the timely commissioning of Kolkata and Delhi Metros suggest how the BMRCL could have avoided missing deadlines and executed the project

While the Kolkata Metro and Delhi Metro have set an example by delivering projects on time, their fledgling cousin Bangalore Metro seems to be unabashed about its prolonged tryst with delays.

The Bangalore Metro has missed four deadlines so far. The launch, which was originally scheduled for March 2010, is likely to happen on September 25


As the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) is stuck in its tracks because of delays and poor project execution, infrastructure experts and Metro corporation authorities from Delhi and Kolkata told MiD DAY how the project could have been efficiently executed.

India's first Metro
The 20-km-long Kolkata Metro is over 25 years old, however, till now it never had a derailment or a structural collapse. Commissioned in 1984, it was the first metro project of the country, carried out by the Indian Railways.

"The Kolkata Metro had a huge challenge as it was completely underground. We faced a lot of problems in executing the project as the soil quality was not same everywhere.

Fortunately, the Bangalore Metro won't have to face such problems as it has gone for bridges that are quicker to install," said A K Sengupta, former Chief Engineer, Kolkata Metro, who was associated with the project since its inception.

The Indian Railways began the Kolkata Metro project in 1978 and commissioned it within six years. "The technology was mainly indigenous then.

When the Bangalore Metro has all modern technologies aid speedy completion of work, I wonder why it hasn't been able to complete the project on time," said Sengupta.

"Kolkata Metro was trial and error, but even after over 25 years, when we look at it - it is nothing less than an achievement," he added.

Punctual project
The Delhi Metro is another model that the Bangalore Metro could have learned a lesson from.

The first phase of the Delhi Metro started in 1998 and completed in 2006 on budget and three years ahead of schedule, that is.
"The Delhi Metro has not missed even a single deadline till now.
 
We were very punctual, I don't know what went wrong with the Bangalore Metro," said an official from Delhi Metro.

When it comes to execution of the project with minimal trouble, the Bangalore Metro has always failed.

"In Delhi Metro, before work is undertaken on any site, an independent traffic management consultant conducts several surveys, while our engineers are always on the site working along with the contractors to ensure that the pace of work is maintained," he added.

No lessons learnt
The Bangalore Metro on the other hand has missed four deadlines till now. The launch was originally scheduled for March 2010.

After that deadline was missed, the BMRCL shifted the deadline to December 31 and then it was changed to April 4, 2011, and then the date of inauguration was set at September 15.

Now, the BMRCL officials are claiming that the Metro will be launched by September 26. But Infrastructure experts say the BMRCL officials are very likely to miss this deadline also.

"It is true that delays have been made with Bangalore Metro, but the BMRC should now learn a lesson from this mistake. It can do better, if it speeds up work on other stretches," said Captain Raja Rao, Urban expert.

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