The event took place at Sahara Star, Mumbai, on November 26. During the day-long event, metro rail operators, contractors, systems providers and consultants deliberated on important facets of the metro rail industry through panel discussions, presentations and delegate interactions.
Bibhor Srivastava, MD, ITP Media (India), welcomed the gathering in his opening address. This was followed by a virtual keynote address by SVR Srinivas, Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA, where he highlighted how the pandemic has impacted public transportation and ways the government is seeking to reimpose a trust among citizens. “Planning the metro is most important. The regional and development plan of the city must be given priority when planning a metro. Where should metros come up? One must know how the region will grow and the sectors that will grow. The execution becomes crucial and land acquisition and right of way are even more important. With too many stakeholders involved, it helps if they all work in cohesion. The huge capex required must be carefully thought out as, in the long run, it cannot be recovered through operational revenues. Technology plays an even more important role, especially in systems. The arrival of CBTC calls for an upgradation of skillsets. We are executing nearly 20km of lines worth Rs 1 lakh crore.”
Ashutosh Shukla, director, mobility segment, Schneider Electric, took the stage to applaud those engaged in constructing metros across the country and how tirelessly they worked even during the pandemic. “Civil sites might have stopped work temporarily, but design and planning continued to toil. Today, there is a sense of transparency in the way metros are built. Technology is making it happen,” he added.
Mike Muralidharan, COO, Bahwan Cybertek, seemed pleased to attend an event physically post lockdowns. Speaking about automation and its goal to delight people, he pointed out that while his company is working with multiple metro operators, one thing is sure: Metro rail will boost real estate value. “Planning must fit with all the pieces. Commuters should be happy with the experience. Transport asset management cannot function alone. It must integrate with SCADA. Countries that have been running metros for more than 15-20 years may find themselves unable to adopt new processes. We are at an advantage,” he said.
The stage was now set for the first panel discussion of the day. The Changing Landscape of urban mobility – the 3 S’s (Safety, Security and Speed) was moderated by Atul Joshi, CEO, Oyster Consulting & director, Titagarh Wagons. The panellists were Colonel Shubhodoy Mukherjee, CEO, Mumbai Metro One; Naresh Gurbani, Executive Director, Maharashtra Metro Rail Corp; Ashutosh Shukla, Director, mobility segment, Schneider Electric; and AA Bhatt, Director (Systems), MMRCL.
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